Skip to content

How to turn an expander

Step 1

Start with having the child lie on his or her back, with their head at the edge of a bed or over the arm of a sofa. Use adequate lighting from a bright lamp or flashlight.

Step 1 - How to turn an expander

Step 2

Have your child open their mouth as wide as possible, as that will minimize the gag reflex.

Step 2 - How to turn an expander

Step 3

Now place the key in the center hole and start turning in the direction of the arrows that are on the expander.

Step 3 - How to turn an expander

Step 4

Turn the expander toward the back of the mouth until you can see the next hole

Step 4 - How to turn an expander

Step 5

Carefully remove the key in a down and back direction. Caution: Be very careful not to “unturn” the expander when removing the key

Step 5 - How to turn an expander

Additional Directions

Cautions for all expanders

Diet and cleaning your expander

What to expect with an expander

If you have excess saliva, swallow before speaking. With discomfort use a mild, over-the-counter pain reliever. If you are experiencing any other issues with your expander, click here for our emergency help page.

These are normal and expected effects of a rapid palatal expander and are not reasons to remove the expander prematurely. Braces are usually required following palatal expansion to align the teeth and fine-tune the bite.