The Rapid Palatal Expander: Types, Uses and Adjusting

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The Rapid Palatal Expander: Types, Uses and Adjusting

A palatal expander, also known as a tongue-piercing device, is a medical device that is used to widen the space in the upper arch of the mouth. It does so by stretching the skin and muscle tissue between the two piers. It has many uses, including correcting speech impediments, breathing difficulties, and dental problems.

What is a Palatal Expander?

The palatal expander is a device made of two parts. One part is called the “tongue blade” which is a small metal plate that fits between your teeth. The other is a small screw that can be turned to widen the space between your teeth over time.

Types of Palatal Expanders

A palatal expander is a type of orthodontics for treating an underbite, also called a Class II malocclusion. It’s designed to gradually widen the upper jaws so that the lower jaw can move backward to correct the alignment of the teeth. There are two types of palatal expanders. The first type is easy to adjust and doesn’t have an intrusive appearance. The second type requires more time, but it has a significant effect on the jaw bone growth.

Uses of Palatal Expanders

A rapid palatal expander is a device that is placed on the top of the mouth to expand the palate. The device has an adjustable screw in order to widen the gap between the two bands. A doctor will place the appliance and it should be worn for 20 minutes each day until it is time to adjust them again. Some treatments may last for years while others are done in months.


According to the American Association of Orthodontists, there is no significant difference in the ability to achieve an ideal result with either appliance. The choice of which appliance to use will depend on many factors including the skill level and experience of the clinician, the patient’s age and co-morbidities, and whether or not there is limited space in front of the patients teeth for expansion.

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