Palatal expander

What is a palatal expander?

The palatal expander “expands” (or widens) a child’s upper jaw by putting gentle pressure on the upper molars each time an adjustment is made. The photos below will instruct you when and how to adjust the expander. When the desired expansion is achieved, your child will wear the appliance for several months to solidify the expansion and to prevent regression.

Adjusting the palatal expander

You can also download these instructions in a printable PDF document.

Step 1

In a well-lit area, tip the patient’s head back


Step 2

Place the key in the hole until it is firmly in place.


Step 3

Push the key toward the back of the mouth. You will notice the fender will rotate and the new hole will appear. The rotation stops when the key meets the back of the expander.


Step 4

Press back and down toward the tongue to remove the key. The next hole for insertion of the key should now be visible.