step-by-step instructions


The palatal expander slowly widens the upper jaw by putting gentle pressure on your upper molars each time the appliance is turned. Each turn only equates to 0.25mm, so the expansion is very slow and does not cause much discomfort.

The animation below will instruct you on how to do these simple turns. It is always best to do the turns right before bedtime so that any discomfort will take place while they are sleeping. Never turn the expander more than once in 24 hours. Never turn the expander more times than prescribed by the doctor, even if you miss the next appointment!


turning expander

Step 1

In a well-lit area, tip the child’s head backwards. The higher their chin is, the easier it will be for you to see the hole.


Step 2

Place the key into the hole until it is firmly in place.


Step 3

Push the key towards the back of the mouth. You will notice the center cog has turned and a new hole has appeared. The rotation stops when the key meets the back of the expander.


Step 4

Slowly remove the key from the hole by pushing the key straight down and out of the hole. Be careful not to accidentally unwind the expander while removing the key. The next hole should still be visible after removing the key.



If you have any issues turning the expander or are unsure if you have turned it correctly, please contact us today at (203) 288-0900.

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Palatal Expanders

Orthodontics is more than just moving teeth. Orthodontists, with their advanced training in growth and development, have a variety of techniques and appliances besides braces at their disposal to correct bite problems. One of these is the palatal expander, which is used to create more room for an adolescent’s permanent teeth. It does so by gently and gradually spreading apart the bones of the palate (roof of the mouth), which don’t permanently fuse…Read Article