Rapid Palatal Expander (RPE)
Situations that most commonly call for upper jaw expansion:
When the child’s upper jaw (maxilla) is too narrow to fit correctly with the lower jaw. The upper back teeth will bite on the inside of the lower back teeth causing a crossbite. This will cause a shifting of the lower jaw that can affect the growth of the jaws and jaw joints.
Even before all of your child’s permanent teeth come in, we can tell if there will be enough room to accommodate them. Widening the upper jaw can often create the necessary space without the need for tooth extractions.
When a tooth hasn’t come in yet and is blocked by other teeth, widening the upper jaw can allow it to erupt into the proper position on it’s own. This most happens with canine/eye teeth.
Research has found evidence that maxillary constriction can be a factor in airway restriction in children. The effects of an expander may include an increase in nasal airway and improved respiratory function. Early studies suggest improvements in sleep apnea and ADHD symptoms.