Rapid Palatal Expander (Upper Expander)
This special appliance (attached with bands or bonds) widens the roof of your mouth by gently separating the suture in the center of your palate.
Why is this sometimes necessary?
- To expand the upper jaw for a proper fit with the lower jaw
- To make room for crowded teeth
How long will it take?
- Usually about 2–4 weeks
- Appliance remains in place longer while the new bone is generating in your expanded arch
Will I feel it moving?
- You may sense some initial discomfort and pressure, causing a tingling or itch under your special appliance.
- A tingling sensation may occur on the bridge of your nose.
What should I do during the expansion period?
- Use your toothbrush carefully around the special appliance.
- Use a Waterpik® and mouthwash to keep your mouth free of spoiled, irritating food particles.
- Take aspirin for any discomfort.
Most important: You or one of your parents must activate your appliance as instructed by your doctor.
To Activate Your Appliance
- Loop the string (attached to the special key) around your finger or wrist to prevent it from accidentally slipping down the throat.
- Insert the key carefully into the hole or slot in the middle front part of your appliance.
- Push the key gently and steadily from the front toward the back of your throat. Pushing the key back as far as possible brings forward a new keyhole position. Now you’re ready for the next activation!
Schwartz Appliance (Lower Expander)
Today your child was given a lower expansion appliance that is called a Schwarz Expander, named after the developer of this appliance. The purpose of this appliance is to expand and upright the lower teeth, usually making space for the alignment of the front teeth.
The lower expander is removable but should be worn at all times, except when the patient brushes his or her teeth. We encourage the patient to wear the Schwarz during meals and snacks. Avoid eating hard or sticky foods with the appliance in place. The appliance should never be wrapped in a napkin, particularly when eating in a restaurant or at school. Many such appliances have been lost in this manner. Whenever the Schwarz is not being worn, it should be placed in its case to prevent damage.
The Schwarz appliance is very fragile and can easily be distorted or broken. Great care must be taken by the patient to avoid breakage. Your child has been instructed to take the appliance in and out of the mouth with his or her fingers. Please discourage your child from flipping the appliance around with their tongue or biting the appliance down into place. This can loosen the appliance and cause it to be swallowed or broken.
As the Schwarz is worn, occasionally one or more of the metal clasps may break off. This is only of concern if your child cannot continue to wear the Schwarz as directed. If the broken clasp is sharp and uncomfortable or makes wearing difficult, please phone our office as soon as possible during business hours to schedule an appointment.
There is an additional charge to replace a lost or negligently broken Schwarz. Should this become necessary, additional impressions or scans must be taken. Dental casts are damaged when making the Schwarz and are not reusable.
The Schwarz appliance should be cleaned every time the patient brushes his or her teeth. Toothpaste can be applied with a toothbrush. Do not use hot water, as the plastic-type appliance will warp.
During the active phase of wear, the appliance should be activated twice per week by turning the expansion screw from top to bottom, using the key provided, in the direction indicated by the arrow on the appliance. Remove the Schwarz from the mouth to do the activation and then replace in the mouth, making sure to push the appliance completely down into place.
Please contact the office immediately if you have any questions.