Anne J. Yoon DDS MS Orthodontist

Close Icon
Contact Info     .

Rapid Palatal Expander

Screen Shot 2013-05-11 at 8.02.10 AM

This fixed appliance is used in orthodontics to create more space in the jaws  during growth, to accommodate teeth.  It works by separating the two bones of the upper jaws which are connected at the roof of the mouth by a suture.  The best time to use this appliance is when you are still growing before the upper jaw bones become connected permanently.  The appliance must remain in your mouth for about  2-4 weeks during expansion, and for about 4 months afterwards to stabilize and reduce relapse.


  • Turn the jack-screw:  ___ turns , every _____ day.

  • Always use the wrench provided with the rubber safety attachment around an adjacent finger.

  • Always enter the screw hole from the front & turn towards the back of the mouth until you can clearly see the next hole of the screw mechanism.

  • During active treatment (usually 2-3 weeks) we must see you every week to monitor your therapy.

  • If you miss an appointment discontinue turning the appliance on the day of your missed appointment, and call us to schedule a new appt. asap.

  • Take over the counter pain medication as needed for any discomfort.

  • If excess pain or swelling occurs, don’t hesitate to call us.

  • As usual, stay away from hard, sticky, sweet foods.

  • It is essential to keep the RPE clean.  A water-pik and frequent mouth swishing can be a great addition to regular brushing.

Common Concerns

  • If you experience any of the below, Do Not Worry as these are common symptoms and will get better in a few days:

  • Pressure or discomfort on the outside of the teeth and the roof of the mouth, use tylenol or advil judiciously.

  • A space will open between your front teeth.  This may happen rather suddenly.  Do not be alarmed, this is normal.

  • Talking & swallowing may be difficult initially.

  • You may also notice increased salivation, this is normal and should decrease with time.

  • Sometimes (rarely) two jack screw appliances are needed in succession for adequate expansion in severe cases.


  • In very rare cases, if your experience excessive swelling, pain, frequent headaches, or blurry vision  please discontinue turning the RPE and contact your doctor.

  • If your appliance comes loose on both sides, carefully remove it and place it in your case so that it can be re-cemented on your next visit – the appliance may have come loose due to excess manipulation with your tongue/fingers or from a hard/sticky/chewy food or object.

  • If your appliance comes loose on one side, please call the office for an emergency visit so that it can be removed or re-cemented according to the doctor’s instructions.

  • Please contact the main office directly or email me here for a quick response outside office hours.


Return to Appliance Guide


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *