View Full Version : Questions about palatal expander.

05-18-2011, 09:16 PM
My DD 13 years old ,got her palatal expander put in yesterday (32 hours ago) She hasn't eaten anything since then as she is scared she is going to choke. She has drank a little but even that is hard for her to swallow...she just lets it drain down the back of her throat. She is starting to feel like she needs to throw up..from not eating I am sure. :yuck:
Anybody with experience to share in how to adjust..or what to eat..what not to eat??:headscratch: Or how I can convince her she isn't going to starve to death...before she figures out how to swallow.

05-18-2011, 10:17 PM
I was an orthodontic assistant for 8 years before becoming a SAHM. :goodvibes:

Honestly, it is just going to take her time to get used to it. When you first get one, it is hard to swallow. Essentially, the roof of her mouth has been moved and she has less space. On top of that, any appliance you put in the mouth causes you to have excess saliva. Your mouth automatically thinks it's food and starts salivating. So, you are salivating like crazy, but it is hard to swallow and you end up slurping, which is embarrassing for the kids your DD age. The saliva production will probably calm down some, but many people will always have at least a little excess saliva while they have an "expander." She is just going to have to eat in order to learn to do it. Here are some tips....

-Start with small bites.
-For now, stick to softer foods, maybe even starting with stuff like soup or pudding (not healthy, but you get the idea).
-Avoid bread and peanut butter until she gets more used to it.
-NO POPCORN, NONE AT ALL! Popcorn really, really gets under those appliances and between the appliance and the gum tissue. I have seen some really nasty sores/infections from popcorn. Just say "no." :thumbsup:
-Get her an oral irrigator, like a Water Pik. They are amazing for cleaning between her appliance and the roof of her mouth. Just aim the water spray up there and spray everything out. Simple, easy, effective. :)

Encourage her this is only temporary. Every orthodontist is different, but expanders are usually not in very long term. They are usually the shortest part of treatment. If you are turning it at home, be faithful. The faster it works, the sooner she can get that thing out of there. I know to a young girl this doesn't seem worth it, but believe me, it is. :hugs: to her and to you.

If you have any other specific questions, feel free to PM me. I may forget to check back here. :blush:

05-18-2011, 11:47 PM
I don't know exactly what your dd's looks like, but my dd has expanders both on top and bottom of her mouth, and it was a rough couple of days for her to adjust. We do not have the kind with the key that you have to turn. My dd's is like this one http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/5/53/Dental_palatal_expander.jpg/300px-Dental_palatal_expander.jpg
Like Heather said, my dd was very slurpy for about a week, but that didn't really bother her much. She ate a lot of pudding and jello at first. Pretty much anything smooth that didn't require much chewing. It wasn't long before she could eat normal foods again, with the exception of course of the off limits stuff. For a few days all I heard was how hungry she was, but she was so scared to eat anything that required her to chew.
I also second the water pik. It has been awesome for dd to be able to clean around all the extra stuff in her mouth.

05-19-2011, 01:07 AM
My 9yo has an appliance to expand her upper palate to correct her crossbite. We turn it every 4 days. She only has pain the first 2 days. That could be partly why your dd isn't eating.

the excess saliva lasted 4-5 days before she got used to it. They said her speech would correct itself but it's been 8weeks since she got it & though it has improved since the first day she definitely has more difficulty speaking with it in.

She takes hers out to eat. She is NOT supposed to eat with it in.

05-19-2011, 06:29 AM
I remember the first few days. My dh almost called off the treatment because he was afraid ds was going to lose too much weight he couldn't afford to lose. It took a few days. but he got he hang of it. He was eventually able to eat just fine.

05-19-2011, 07:24 AM
Oh goodness I remember those things. Your dd has my sympathies. It really just takes time to get used to it. I had one for so long that by the time mine came out I was in complete awe of the feeling of the roof of my mouth. Take small bites; and eventually she'll be able to eat normally. Like a pp said, the spit is awful-- get her to keep a washcloth with her at home for a few days and spit if she need to. And if it has to be turned, understand that it is SO painful and give her motrin and tylenol before you do it.

05-19-2011, 08:17 AM
Thanks so much for the tips!
We are to turn hers everyday for 12 days. They didn't say how long she is to wear it. I honestly didn't think to ask. I just assumed it was just part of the braces. I didn't realize they are a temporary thing untill I went online last night to find help with turning the key. Braces are a whole new world for me. I never had them...didn't know anybody who had them either..(homeschooled lol). Though DH had them, but not the expander.
I will definately get the water pick, sounds like everyone is in agreement on that! I am hopeful that she will eat today. I wish DD's was like the removable one above..but it's fixed, so you have to eat with it, from what I read online chewing with it helps the expanding.
Heather I may PM you in the weeks to come...lol! and yes, your right about it being worth it, I know it is, but she ...she definately has been thinking that its not!

05-19-2011, 08:22 AM
I had one of these too. I did lose a little weight but she'll get the hang of it. Do please get her lots of wax so that when it's rubbing she can cover it and not wake up with a raw tongue or cheek.

Lots of good advice so I won't repeat it all. :)

05-19-2011, 11:17 AM
I agree with everything said here. Water pic and wax especially! I had one and you do eventually get used to it. It's just different! And she isn't going to choke, but I know the feeling. It's just because she can't move her tongue as much.

Mine didn't hurt to turn it. I just had a funny feeling like the bridge of my nose was being squeezed!

05-19-2011, 11:46 AM
Not wanting to hijack...how long do they typically wear these? Ds has an uber high palate and we were told he may need one when we gets older.

05-19-2011, 12:40 PM
My dd had hers in for about 8 months. The first couple of days are the worst. We got her a ton of ensure and those yogurt smoothie drinks. Anything with calories. We also did the protein waters. The third day we moved on the chicken noodle soup (she mostly ate the noodles) by the end of the week she was eating normally again.

05-19-2011, 12:45 PM
8 months!

I hope ours is very temporary!

05-19-2011, 12:50 PM
I had a palate expander in high school (which was a long time ago, but...) and I had my palate expander in for about 14 months. It took more than 8 months to correct my palate, and then they left it in so that the expansion would have time to "set."

I never felt like I was going to choke, but it did feel funny when I had to turn the key. It took about 3-4 weeks to get to the point that I didn't notice it at all any more.

05-19-2011, 02:08 PM
Not wanting to hijack...how long do they typically wear these? Ds has an uber high palate and we were told he may need one when we gets older.

I don't know how long my dd is going to have hers in. She's had it 3 months, and we go every 6 weeks for a check-up, but I have not been given a real timeline of how long this could take. I think it may vary with each kid and their specific problem and how their mouth is. Some kids can get their palate moved enough in just a couple months, while others, like about poster, may need over a year to get the job done. So I guess my dd will just have this until we go in for a checkup and the ortho feels like the work is done.
My dd is only 8, so once this part is done, she'll get a semi-permanent retainer to hold everything in place until she's ready for braces. I'm hoping since she's younger maybe things will be easier to move, but I have nothing to base that idea on, just wishful thinking. :giggle:

05-19-2011, 05:11 PM
It is easier when they are younger because the palate is not completely fused yet.

05-19-2011, 05:25 PM
Not wanting to hijack...how long do they typically wear these? Ds has an uber high palate and we were told he may need one when we gets older.

It depends on how bad it is & if you turn it as often as recommended. I am sure there is some growth/genetics in play too. My dd's appliance is to be worn for 6-9months. I didn't know that until after we'd paid & she'd received it. For the amount of money we paid I'd like her to wear it longer.lol

05-23-2011, 02:15 PM
I had mine for 2 years. But I had *exceptionally* bad teeth.

05-24-2011, 09:09 AM
Wow. Now i know what my first question will be at our next appointment!
But on the upside: she started eating! The last couple of days she has been living off Spaghetti O's (eewww) and last night I talked her into a bite or two of a very tender/moist hamburger. She did it!

05-24-2011, 03:27 PM
Wow. Now i know what my first question will be at our next appointment!
But on the upside: she started eating! The last couple of days she has been living off Spaghetti O's (eewww) and last night I talked her into a bite or two of a very tender/moist hamburger. She did it!

Woo Hoo!! Good for her!

2 years is very unusual. 4-6 months is more average. Basically what happens is after the expansion is complete, the appliance needs to stay in to keep it from collapsing. The orthodontist will then really begin to align or straighten the teeth. The wires he uses to do this are very flexible. Once the teeth are much better aligned, the orthodontist can place a "stiffer" wire in the brackets that will hold the expansion. At that point, he can remove the appliance. Of course, while I have worked with several different orthodontists, each one is different. And, I haven't seen your DD or her treatment plan. But, this is the basic idea. Hopefully, that makes sense. :giggle: