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Rapid Palatal Expander (RPE)

Posted Sep 29th, 2016 in Patient Information

Rapid Palatal Expander (RPE)

What is a Rapid Palatal Expander? (RPE)

Rapid Palatal Expander (RPE)


Your expansion appliance is used to expand your top arch. It has a round screw in the centre with 4 small holes. It is cemented to the molars so that it does not come out- even when eating. You may eat most foods (avoiding gum, hard candy). At first it will be challenging but with practice it will get easier.

Activation Key:

The blue plastic handled key you have been given is used to activate the screw mechanism. First insert the wire on the blue key into the hole closest to the front of the expansion screw mechanism and turn it by pushing towards the back. Be sure to complete the full turn and ensure the next hole has come up at the front. This will be ready for the next time you need to make a turn. The turn schedule will be given to you by your Orthodontist. Keep track of your turns on a calendar and if you miss a day, do not double up, just resume your normal turn schedule.

How it works:

Sometimes a space will develop between the front teeth during the beginning stages of the expansion. This is temporary and the space will close again on its own. It means the expansion is working! If there is discomfort or a feeling of pressure, use Advil or Tylenol.


Gentle but thorough cleaning around the entire appliance is important. You may use an electric toothbrush or water pik if you have one. Be sure to brush your tongue as well. Do not become alarmed if an imprint of the expander forms on your tongue, this is normal and will go away with time. Use the wax provided if any bulging areas bother your cheeks.  Remember to keep pens and fingers out of your mouth  If any components break or become loose, CALL THE OFFICE

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