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How to Turn Your Palatal (Palate) Expander at Home

Hi everyone – Kerrie at Crescent Orthodontics here in South Lyon and today I want to talk about palate expanders. When a patient comes into our South Lyon office with a narrow upper or lower jaw, Dr. Reynolds will often fit them with a device called a palatal – or palate – expander that is designed to gently widen their palate. This creates more space for their teeth, which can relieve teeth crowding, reduce the need for extractions, and result in a better bite and a broader, more attractive smile.

If you have been fitted with a palate expander, you will need to activate or turn –your expander at home during your treatment. Even though it can be a little intimidating – I have had my daughter have an expander as well so I’ve been in the same boat as everybody else – rest assured that after a couple turns, it’s a piece of cake.

Turning Your Expander

When you or your child were fitted with the expander, you were also given an expander key. If you take a look at your key, you’ll see that it has a safety bend that, when fully engaged in your expander, prevents any scratching of the roof or floor of your mouth when you’re turning it.

When placing the key into your expander, you want to make sure that you are inserting it into the hole as shown, all the way to the safety bend. Then press the key toward the back of your throat until it stops and won’t turn anymore. To remove the key, you want to push down and to the back of your throat until it disengages.

It is important that you don’t pull forward on the key when you are removing it. This can partially unturn your expander and misalign the holes for your next turn. You’ll know you have successfully turned your expander when you can fully engage the key for your next turn.



Crescent Orthodontics is your hometown orthodontist proudly serving the 
South Lyon, MI community and surrounding areas. In addition to several braces treatment options, we also offer Invisalign and Invisalign teen as well as early orthodontic treatment. Call us today at 248-437-3377 or click to schedule your complimentary in-office or virtual consultation. We can’t wait to meet you!