By Suter Orthodontics
July 08, 2015
Category: Dental Procedures

When children begin to lose their baby teeth and new, permanent teeth pop in, the results can look a little awkward for a while. That mixture of baby teeth, missing teeth, and large adult teeth can cause any parent to wonder what their child’s smile will look like when it Rapid Palatal Expanderall finally comes together. But if you’re noticing that your child’s teeth are crowding close together, your Colorado Springs orthodontist Dr. Scott Suter may suggest a device called a Rapid Palatal Expander.

What is a Rapid Palatal Expander?

This device, also called an orthodontic expander, is often used by orthodontists when they feel the palate needs widening. This can occur when the dentist notices that your child’s teeth have become crowded because the palate does not allow for proper spacing.

How Does the RPE Work?

The upper jawbone is made from two separate bones separated by a suture. The RPE works to widen the palate by slowly and gently pushing apart the two bones. The RPE is fixed in the upper jaw and the child’s caregiver will be asked to turn a small key in the device each day to expand the device wider and wider. 

Once the dentist has determined that the palate is wide enough, the RPE will stay in place for another few months so that the suture can form new bone and close the space that was created by the widening.

When Should My Child Get an RPE?

Your Colorado Springs orthodontist Dr. Suter will suggest that your child should have at least their adult first molars in before considering a rapid palatal expander. Usually, candidates are approximately 6-16 years of age for this procedure.

Other Things to Consider:

While the RPE may sound like a painful device, it does not cause any pain whatsoever. Your child should only experience mild pressure for a few minutes after the device key is turned each day. You will be able to tell that the RPE is working when you notice spaces between your child’s teeth. This will allow the teeth to reposition either naturally or with braces so they are no longer crowded together.

If you believe your child may need a rapid palatal expander, talk to your orthodontist. The friendly staff at Suter Orthodontics in Colorado Springs offer the RPE device as well as braces and other orthodontic services to meet your whole family’s needs. Schedule an appointment today by calling (719) 550-0222.

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