Your Childs’s Palate Widening Appliance

The Palate widening appliance is a specially made device used to expand the upper arch or roof of the mouth. There are several reasons to widen the arch. First by widening the upper arch, the upper teeth may line up better with the lower teeth, giving the patient a better bite. Second, where a high palate and a narrow arch restrict the breathing passage located above, widening the palate widens the air passage. Then the patient can breathe more easily through their nose. Third, widening the palate can make more room for crowded teeth to align better.

The expanding action of the appliance gently separates the elastic membrane in the center of the palate. Once the palate has been expanded fully, new bone and tissue will fill that space.

The upper arch is usually expanded enough in 15 to 30 days. However, the appliance is allowed to remain in the mouth for a longer period (6 months) while new bone is generated in the expanded arch.

Once the orthodontist has cemented the palate widening device in place. It is you who will activate it. This is done twice every day, once in the morning and once in the evening, unless we direct you otherwise. 

How to Activate the Key Operated Appliance

  1. Carefully insert the key into the hole or slot in the middle of the appliance.
  2. Gently and steadily push the key from the front toward the back of your mouth. Do not back up. Remove the key toward the throat. You automatically bring a new key hole position forward by pushing the key as far back as possible. It will be ready for the next activation.

How to Activate the Wrench Operated Appliance

  1. Open your mouth as wide as possible.
  2. Place the wrench on the hex portion of the middle cylinder of the expander so the wrench is near the top teeth. Swing the wrench down from the top teeth to meet the lower teeth.

Additional Comments

You will notice that widening the palate also temporarily causes a space between the two front teeth. Do not be alarmed. The space closes again naturally.

Also the same pressure on the roof of the mouth may cause a tingling sensa­tion at the bridge of the nose. Usually any over-the-counter Ibuprofen pain reliever will effectively relieve the discomfort. If it does not, call the office so we can check your appliance carefully. 

For most people this procedure is not painful, though there may be some initial discomfort and some feeling of pressure as the arch expands. This pressure causes a tingling or an itch under the appliance.


Your Child’s appliance should be activated: 

 1 time Every Morning

 1 time Every Evening

AS A PARENT … it is YOUR responsibility to: 

Activate the appliance closely following the schedule and instructions given by the orthodontist. It is important not to rush or delay the activation of the appliance.

Be sure the appliance is carefully cleaned each time you brush. The use of an oral irrigation device and mouthwash will keep the appliance free of food and prevent irritation.