Palatal Expander Device (PED)

Palatal Expander Device

A major benefit of treating children at an early age is the possibility of taking advantage of their own natural growth process to treat or even prevent malocclusions (“bad bites”). The Rapid Palatal Expander (RPE) is a device used to widen the upper arch of the mouth.


This device helps achieve a correct bite, eliminates crossbites, improves breathing, eliminates or reduces overcrowding and ultimately straightens teeth. Widening the mouth’s palate allows the upper teeth to line up properly, giving a better bite. Additionally, widening the palate broadens air passages, enabling you to breathe more easily through the nose.

What to Expect:

Widening the arches also temporarily causes a space between the front two teeth. There can be some temporary initial discomfort or a feeling of pressure after the key is turned. An over-the-counter pain reliever (Advil, Tylenol, etc) will effectively relieve patient discomfort. Your child may experience difficulties with speaking and eating until the tongue adjust to the presence of the appliance. 


You will receive a special key that activates the Rapid Palatal Expander (RPE). The parent or patient must regularly activate the appliance according to the schedule and instructions given by Dr. McInnis. It is very critical for a successful treatment to follow Dr. McInnis’ instructions. The patient should take care to clean the RPE carefully each time they brush. Brushing and mouthwash will keep the appliance free of food and prevent irritation.

The patient will need to stay away from sticky or chewy foods, as this will loosen the expander. We recommend cutting up stringy foods (such as spaghetti), hot cheese or peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, for the first few days until the patient can adjust to eating. If the expander feels loose at any time, the patient should call the office as soon as possible.