Your upper jaw grows the same way that your skull grows: the plates of bone are pushed apart by function, and new bone fills in the gaps between the bones. The palatal expander takes advantage of this type of growth by moving the bones of the roof of the mouth sideways so that it “expands” (or widens) your upper jaw as it puts gentle pressure on your upper teeth each time an adjustment is made. The animation below will instruct you about when and how to adjust your expander. When you achieve the desired expansion, you will wear the appliance for six months to solidify the expansion and to prevent regression.
Adjusting the palatal expander
You can also download these instructions in a printable PDF document.
In a well-lit area, tip the patient’s head back.
Place the key in the hole until it is firmly in place.
This animation shows activating the key by pushing it toward the back of the mouth. You will notice the fender will rotate and the new hole will appear. The rotation stops when the key meets the back of the expander. (NOTE: most of Dr. Okun's expanders are activated from back to front.)
Push back and down toward the tongue, and remove the key. The next hole for insertion of the key should now be visible.