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Instructions for Fixed Expanders

A fixed expander will increase the width of the dental arch. In addition, this tends to increase space for the teeth. These are “cemented” in place and not removeable. If they do come loose, please schedule an appointment as soon as possible to recement the appliance.

Cleaning the appliance

After eating you may trap food around the appliance. It is important to remove trapped food debris to maintain good oral hygiene and facilitate ease of expansion. You may use a toothbrush to clean the expander and brush your teeth and gums. A mouth rinse may be helpful to remove food debris that may have collected around the appliance. We highly recommend purchasing a Water Pik, which is a handheld device used squirt a light jet of water around and under the appliance.

Activating the appliance

You should activate the appliance by turning the screw with key given at the insertion appointment. Always follow the instructions for activation given by your orthodontist. This may very from appointment to appointment. At your next visit you will be instructed how many more turns to make. If you miss your next visit, stop turning the expander and make another appointment as soon as possible.

What to expect

(1) The appliance may cause you to talk “funny” for the first day. However, your speech will adjust over the course of a few weeks.

(2) You may experience an increase in the flow of the saliva for the first day — expect this to normalize over the week.

(3) You may feel slight discomfort. The activations are generally so small that the overwhelming majority of patients tolerate the expansion quite well. You may use a mild pain reliever as needed (please do not exceed recommended dosages on the bottle).


If you have any questions please feel free to contact us!