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Rapid Palatal Expander

Upper jaw expansion is a form of orthodontic treatment that is used in specific cases. An expander is used to widen the upper jaw and decrease the amount of time you wear your braces. It can also create more space for your teeth to grow.


Why is a Palatal Expander Important?

Teeth in the upper jaw can become crowded if there is not enough space in the jaw to fit all of the teeth as they come in. Expanding the palate (the roof of the mouth) is an effective way to address this problem. With the help of Dr. Stormberg, young patients can avoid many problems that result from a narrow jaw.

When is a Palatal Expander Needed?

This treatment is used when the upper jaw is too narrow to fit comfortably against the lower jaw; this results in a misaligned bite. Bite misalignments can cause several problems, especially for young children, including:

  • Airway constriction
  • Uneven wear on teeth
  • Difficulty biting and chewing
  • Difficulty pronouncing words and speaking clearly
  • Crowded teeth are more difficult to clean and may develop cavities

How Does a Rapid Palatal Expander Work?

A rapid palatal expander is a small, delicate metal framework that fits into the top of the patient’s mouth. The two arms of the expander are attached to the inside of teeth with dental cement. This cement keeps the expander in place while it does its work. A small screw located in the center of the expander is gradually tightened over the course of treatment. It is turned with the help of a special key. A gentle pressure on the left and right sides of the upper jaw allows the palate tissues to move into the correct position. The connective tissue in the mouths of young patients is quite responsive to this treatment; bone growth will increase where the two halves meet and fix the new width in place. Once the palate has expanded to the correct position, the expander is held to stabilize, then removed about six weeks after turns have completed. Various types of follow up treatment might be required once the expander has been removed and our team at Stormberg Orthodontics will work with you and your child to help you understand any next steps.

How To Turn The Palatal Expander

To turn you or your child’s palatal expander, insert the key into the hole of the screw mechanism on the expander and push towards the back of the mouth. Once you see the next hole appear, you’ll know the turn is complete.

Your First Visit: What To Expect


Your custom treatment plan.

Your first visit to our office is the very beginning of your orthodontic journey, and we’re just as excited as you! We will take complimentary xrays and images of your teeth that lets us see what’s going on. Then Dr. Stormberg will perform a thorough examination of your teeth, mouth, and gums. This information helps us design your customized treatment plan.

Braces or aligners just for you.

When you think about braces, you might think about the old-fashioned ones you saw as a kid that made patients look like they had a mouth full of metal. Thanks to some of the newest designs and options, you no longer need to worry about how people look at you or how they perceive you. At Stormberg Orthodontics, we want to help you get the smile that you love with treatment as convenient as possible.

Your new smile.

We price ourselves on giving our patients beautiful, healthy smiles that last a lifetime and that dedication doesn’t end when your braces are removed. Stormberg Orthodontics offers a variety of retainer options to find the best fit for your smile and lifestyle.

Just Moved? We Are Accepting New Patients!

If you have already begun orthodontic treatment and you’ve recently moved to the area, don’t worry, we can help make the process of switching to, or from, our office as easy as possible.
  • Military Transfers
  • Job Transfers
  • College Students
  • FAQs from Dr. Kurt Stormberg

    Will my teeth straighten as they grow?
    Unfortunately, no. Orthodontic issues, such as spacing and malocclusions, tend to worsen with age. It’s important to be examined as early as possible, to ensure these problems are corrected sooner rather than later.
    At what age should I schedule an appointment for an orthodontic screening?

    American Association of Orthodontists recommend you should schedule your child’s first appointment by age 7.  

    Orthodontic treatment and a child’s growth can complement each other.  By timing orthodontic treatment to predictable stages of dental development, the orthodontist may be able to take advantage of your child’s growth and development.  Some problems that can be treated quite well in a growing child may require corrective surgery or permanent teeth to be extracted if treated after growth has occurred.

    Can I schedule all of my appointments after school?
    We do our best to schedule you for the most convenient times based on your busy schedule, but cannot make any guarantees. However, most appointments are scheduled 4-10 weeks apart, so you or your child will miss minimal work/school time.
    Can I drop my child off for an appointment?
    We completely understand your busy schedule and are happy to accommodate. Once you pick up your child, we will review what was accomplished at the conclusion of each appointment and what is expected to be accomplished at the next appointment.  We strongly recommend making the follow up appointments prior to leaving our office.
    Can orthodontic correction occur while a child has baby teeth?
    If an orthodontic issue is severe enough, then early intervention can occur while the child still has baby teeth. If your child isn’t ready yet, we’ll simply monitor their growth and development, and begin treatment when they’re ready.

    What are you waiting for?

    Smile Brighter Today!

    We have treatments to bring out the best in any smile. Learn about your options at your complimentary visit.