Do you have a narrow jaw? We may have the treatment for you

The RME (Rapid Maxillary Expander) or RPE (Rapid Palatal Expander) is an expander that is used where the upper jaw is too narrow relative to the lower jaw. If an upper jaw expander is required you will usually find that the relationship of the back teeth is reversed, with the upper teeth biting inside of the lower teeth.

Widening the upper jaw with the use of a RME or RPE helps to:

  • Achieve a better bite.
  • Create a little more room for any crowded teeth.
  • Improve the nasal airway- a narrow or deep upper jaw may make it harder to breathe through the nose. When widening the upper jaw, the air passages also widen, thus allowing easier breathing through the nose. Once the upper jaw has been expanded, new bone fills the space and helps maintain the increased width.


What’s the difference between a jaw expander and braces?

The difference between a jaw expander and braces is that braces move the teeth, while an expander gently separates and widens the two parts of the upper jaw making more room for crowded teeth and promoting symmetry.

The most significant reason for expanding the upper jaw using rapid palatal expansion in childhood is to intercept the problem of asymmetrical lower jaw growth before it results in facial asymmetry.

After the jaw expander has been cemented in place, the patient will be required to check it every day and turn the screw as instructed. Parents will need to assist!

How to turn the expansion screw

  1. Have the patient lie on a bed or couch with the mouth wide open.
  2. Carefully insert the key into the hole in the middle of the appliance.
  3. Gently but steadily push the key from the front towards the back of the mouth. (Be careful not to reverse the turn!) You know you have turned far enough when you are able to see the next screw hole.
  4. If something seems amiss, call our office as soon as possible for an appointment.

Is it painful?

For most patients this procedure is not painful. However, the pressure of the screw turning may cause a tingling sensation at the bridge of the nose and/or tooth sensitivity. The sensitivity usually lasts about 5 minutes and then starts to disappear.

If you have any further questions, don’t hesitate to contact our warm and friendly staff. We look forward to hearing from you!