WHAT IT IS
A palatal expander is best installed before your bones completely fuse, which normally happens between ages 14 - 16. Attached to the upper teeth, the expander has a screw device in the center for increasing the tension little by little, nudging the upper jaw out.
Either the patient or a parent can use the expander’s special key to make the necessary daily adjustments—the illustrations below show how. (You can also download the instructions in a printable PDF document.)
A palatal expander is usually worn for two to six months in order to achieve and reinforce the desired realignment.
As the palate widens, a gap will likely be created in the front teeth. This may close on its own in time, but if not it can be corrected with various types of braces.