Dr. Sidney M. Craft

Orthodontist located in Houston, TX & The Woodlands, TX

Many orthodontic problems are caused by having an upper jaw that’s too narrow. At the office of Sidney M. Craft, Jr., DDS, in Houston and The Woodlands, Texas, treatment for patients that are experiencing malocclusion or misaligned teeth due to a small upper jaw with a rapid palatal expander is available. To learn more about how rapid palatal expanders can improve your oral health, schedule an appointment today by calling the office nearest you or using the convenient online booking tool.

Expanders Q & A

What is a rapid palatal expander?

A rapid palatal expander (RPE) is an orthodontic appliance that treats malocclusions (bad bites) by slowing increasing the width of the upper jaw.

Rapid palatal expanders are most effective when used in early childhood and prior to puberty when the two halves that make up the upper jaw are still in the process of fusing together and are more malleable. At this point in the development of the jaw, the two bones can be more easily separated, widened, and stabilized.

Treatment with a rapid palatal expander is an easy and tolerable process that can deliver excellent orthodontic results and significantly improve the function and appearance of a smile and bite.

What conditions can a rapid palatal expander treat?

By safely increasing the width of the upper jaw, Dr. Craft can use a palatal expander to fix a number of orthodontic conditions, including:

  • Crossbite, or a bite where the upper jaw is too narrow to properly fit in with the lower jaw
  • Impacted teeth, or when a tooth hasn’t come in yet, and another tooth blocks it
  • Narrow upper arch
  • Crowded teeth

Rapid palatal expanders can also be used to improve breathing and to broaden a smile for aesthetic purposes.

How does having a rapid palatal expander work?

Your or your child’s rapid palatal expander is designed from an impression that is taken at the office of Dr. Sidney M. Craft of the upper and lower jaw. It’s custom-made to fit over the top teeth in the back of your mouth and is composed of two metal halves that are cemented onto your last upper molars and are connected in the middle by a screw.

The Dr. Sidney M. Craft team shows you how to turn the screw, which you’ll do every day at home. Turning the screw induces tension at the intersection of your two palatal bones, which slowly moves the bones apart and increases the width of your upper jaw.

You’ll have occasional check-in appointments the Dr. Sidney M. Craft office to monitor your progress, but your jaw should reach its target expansion point within two to four weeks.

After your jaw has hit its target width, your practitioner cements the screw to prevent further turning. You leave the expander in for another few months in order to give your bones time to stabilize and adapt to the new width. Total treatment time generally takes between three to nine months.

To learn more about how a rapid palatal expander can benefit your smile or that of your child, or to start treatment, call to schedule an appointment today at the office of Dr. Sidney M. Craft that is nearest you or schedule a visit online.