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Expander For Teeth: What are the Types and Uses?

Many times, when you go to a dentist, they suggest an expander for your teeth to correct your dental problems. Here in this article, we will discuss the expander for teeth, when it is needed, types, side effects, and how to take proper care.

What is Expander For Teeth?

An Expander for teeth is an orthodontic device that is used to expand the jaw. The device is used widely in dentistry, especially for orthodontic treatment purposes. The main aim of the device is to correct different orthodontic problems.

So, a question may arise as to why the expansion of the jaw is required. Sometimes, for the constricted upper or lower jaw, different types of malocclusions, mainly crossbites, occur. A crossbite is the malalignment of upper and lower teeth and the inability of an individual to have a proper bite.

The dental expander is used to correct this problem mechanically without the help of any surgery. This is the most convenient way to correct posterior crossbites and help a patient have a correct tooth alignment.

How do Dental Expanders work?

Dental Expander is an active orthodontic appliance. An active orthodontic appliance is any appliance that produces force into the south to bring certain changes. There are many active orthodontic appliances including Hawley’s appliances, Springs, Expanders ETX.

The expander is fit into the palate of the patient. When it is well adapted, the dentist activates the dental expander through a screw. As a result, the expander starts giving force to the jaw. With optimal orthodontic force, the dental expander succeeds in bringing the desired expansion in the jaw.

What are the types of dental expanders?

Dental expanders can be categorized into different types on the basis of their usage. Here are some of them:

RME(Rapid Maxillary Expander):

The most common type of expander for teeth is a Rapid Maxillary Expander. They are very effective in correcting posterior crossbites. The expander is activated in such a way that a good result comes in a very short time.


Hyrax is a special type of RME because of the application of a special screw. The dentist provides all the information to the patient on how to activate the appliance. With a key, the patient is able to activate the screw according to the doctor’s advice.

Hyrax Credit: bmortholab

Haas expander:

Haas expander works in the same mechanism as a hyrax. The main difference is in the fabrication. It gives a controlled movement of your palate.

Quad Helix:

Quad Helix is a slow maxillary expander. The device is used to provide a long-term force, which is less than the RME. As a result, the force is provided in a more controlled manner. Here, the patient has to visit the dentist periodically to activate the appliance.

What are the Uses of an Expander For Teeth?

Cross Bite:

Crossbite is the main indication for a dental expander. Most of the posterior crossbites are corrected with a dental expander.


When you have a narrow jaw, the space for the teeth becomes less. In the case of developing posterior crossbite, the development of reduced spaces continues to put pressure on the teeth. As a result, crowding occurs. A dental expander increases the space and helps your teeth have the proper teeth on the arch.

Narrow Upper Jaw:

With patients with narrow upper jaw, Expanders for teeth are used to expand the bones and widen the maxilla.

Impacted Teeth:

The device is used widely for the treatment of impacted teeth. When the impacted teeth get space in the arch, they tend to come into their original position. Fixed orthodontic wiring is also required in this case.

Correcting Skeletal Discrepancy:

Dental Expanders are mainly used to correct the skeletal discrepancies of the mandible and the maxilla.

What are the side effects of the device?

When you have gotten an expander for teeth in your jaw, you may face some side effects. Here are some of them:

  1. During the treatment, you may feel discomfort. The device can irritate the soft tissues of your mouth when being adjusted in the oral cavity.
  2. If the expander is not adapted well, it may cause a burning sensation in your mouth; consult your dentist if this occurs.
  3. For the first few days, you will face problems in your speech, But the problem will resolve as soon as you get used to it.
  4. If excessive force is produced while activating the device, it can produce traumatic separation of the mid-palatal suture. So, consult a professional orthodontist for the treatment.
  5. There is a chance of relapse if you don’t wear the appliance for an adequate period, according to the dentist.

How to Take Care of your dental Expander?

You should take regular care of the expander for teeth to get a better result. Here are the measures you should take:

Regular Brushing:

You should regularly brush your teeth while you have an expander. While brushing, try to clean the expander safely with the bush to clear and remove all the food debris from heir. This will keep you away from having a bad breath.

Regular activation:

An expander for teeth is an active orthodontic appliance, if you don’t activate it regularly, the force will be decreased day by day. After a time, there will be no effect of the expander in your mouth.


You should maintain some precautions while eating if you have a dental expander. Try to have soft food for a few days after you have got the appliance. Avoid Cewey foods, gums, caramels, and nuts to keep your expander in good condition.

Visit Orthodontist:

If you find any problem with your dental expander, visit your dentist as soon as possible. Some expanders need activation from the orthodontist themselves. Don’t try to activate them by yourself at your home.

Does Expander For Teeth Hurt?

The dental expander is a mechanical device. You may feel mild to moderate at a certain time, like when the dentist is adapting the device to your mouth.

As you are new to the device, it will take some time to adjust in your mouth. For the first one or two days, you may feel some irritation in your mouth, But as time passes by, the problems will fade away.

After a few days, the expander will become a part of your life, and you will feel no irritation or pain from there. You may feel pressure on your jaw after activating the dental expander, but this doesn’t cause any pain sensation.

How long should one wear a Dental expander in a day?

To get the best result, you should wear the dental expander continuously 24 hours a day. If you have a removable dental expander, you can remove it once or twice a day for maintenance, like cleaning. But, the dental expander has to be used all day long, including the time you are eating email, playing sports and going to sleep.

Dow Long, does it take the Expanders to work?

If you follow your dentist consultation properly and wear and activate the dental expander properly, it will take 3-6 months to have visible results in your oral cavity. You will feel it within your mouth as the crossbite is corrected, and the crowding and other orthodontic problems will also be corrected. You will also find changes in your facial aesthetic.

What is the best time to get an Expander for the teeth?

The best time to get any orthodontic treatment is the growing age. If the parents find any orthodontic misalignment in their kids at their growing stage, mostly during adolescence, the problems can be corrected easily. The growth potential and the flexibility of this time help to get the desired results without any risk of any future surgical interventions. So, when your kid is 7-8 years of age, you can visit orthodontists to plan for the most efficient orthodontic treatment.


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