Rapid Palatal Expander
A rapid palatal expander (RPE) provides early treatment to help prevent and correct dental and facial bone development as well as airway issues in children. Learn more about this important orthodontic appliance today.
Our skilled orthodontic team at park smiles nyc pediatrics offers early interceptive treatment for children, including the rapid palatal expander (rpe) to help assist with bite correction and airway.
What is a Rapid Palatal Expander?
The rapid palatal expander (RPE) is one of the common appliances used at Park Smiles NYC Pediatrics to help children with interceptive orthodontic treatment , commonly known as Phase I or early treatment in orthodontics. By widening the upper jaw, the expander corrects upper jawbone width that in turn creates adequate space for permanent teeth to erupt, and helps treat and prevent severe teeth crowding or impactions. The expander is especially useful for young children who are still actively growing and corrections are easy to make.
Additional benefits of using the rapid palatal expander (RPE) include:
- Crossbite correction. Often children can demonstrate incorrect bite called crossbite due to upper and lower jawbone width discrepancy. Simply put, crossbite is where the upper teeth are behind or inside of the lower teeth. It can be a single, a couple of teeth, or whole segment on the one side of mouth or both. If left untreated, it is very likely to cause significant lower-jaw displacement and/or unfavorable jaw growth. The expander helps to correct this problem by expanding the upper jaw as an early intervention
- Eliminates or reduces overcrowding. Palatal expansion enables your child’s upper teeth to erupt in their correct positions.
- Improves breathing. A narrow or deep palate may be related to a constricted airway, making it difficult for a child to breathe through his or her nose. This can result in continuous mouth breathing, known to be detrimental to dental and gum health, as well as contributing to sleep disorders. The expander can help provide easier breathing by widening of the palate and nasal passages.
How does the Rapid Palatal Expander work?
The RPE is custom-made to fit exactly for each person’s mouth and teeth. It is a non-removable appliance fixed onto the upper first molars covering over most of the palate. There isa removable type of RPE. The appliance consists of two halves connected in the middle with a screw. Using a special key, turning the screw will induce controlled tension at the intersection of the two palatal bones.
This tension will gradually move the two bones apart. At the time the desired expansion is achieved, your orthodontist will leave the expander in for a few months to give your child’s bones time to adapt and stabilize the new expansion.
What will my child experience during the RPE treatment?
Your child will likely experience mild discomfort during the beginning of the treatment period, probably more so due to the actual presence of the appliance inside the mouth than expansion, but this is normal and children usually get adjusted fast.
It’s important to remember that the uncomfortable experiences are only temporary and will lessen as your child’s body adapts to the appliance and process. Some of the issues your child may experience could include:
- A feeling of pressure
- Speaking and eating feeling a bit awkward at first
- A gap between the front teeth.
At Park Smiles NYC Pediatrics, communication with our patients and parents is always a priority, and you can rest assured that we’ll guide you and your child every step of the way during treatment. This includes at-home maintenance instructions, including how to brush properly, take care of the expander and what foods to avoid.
Schedule your consultation at Park Smiles NYC Pediatrics today
If your child has crowded teeth or spacing problems, an orthodontic evaluation at Park Smiles NYC Pediatrics is the first step to getting them the help they need. Our skilled orthodontic team is here to help your child achieve a sparkling, straight and healthy smile for years to come. Schedule a consultation today by contacting us at (212) 988-6724.
Attaining healthy, straight teeth and a beautiful smile is like a Walk in the Park – at Park Smiles NYC Pediatrics!