First Days In Expanders


The cement used to attach the expanders to your teeth cures rapidly, but takes several hours to completely cure. You can eat any time after leaving our office. However, we ask that you remember the list of foods that may be harmful to your expanders. Until you become accustomed to eating with your new expanders, you may find it beneficial to follow a diet consisting of all soft foods.

Initially, the expanders may make the roof of your mouth feel “full,” which can lead to concern about speech and swallowing. Rest assured that the “full” sensation is normal. With practice, both speech and swallowing will improve significantly within the first 24 to 48 hours. The mechanism of speech improvement is due to a certain type of biofeedback loop: the brain hears the speech sounding incorrect and will automatically change where the tongue is going when speaking. Swallowing with expanders just takes practice and the discipline of refraining from slurping, which allows the tongue to cheat and annoys others nearby. Remember that as the expander makes more room in your mouth, there will be more room for your tongue.

Compared with Rapid Palatal Expanders, which require uncomfortable repetitive turning at home, our technologically advanced self-activating expanders are extremely comfortable overall, as they apply very light force consistently over time. However, if there is any minor initial sensitivity a few hours after an expander is placed, Ibuprofen (Advil® or Motrin®) in regular doses can alleviate the discomfort.

It is exceptionally important to clean your expander, using the Hygiene Kit and instructions that we provide. Doing so will prevent cavities and gingival discomfort. Please see our Oral Hygiene page for a review of cleaning instructions.

Call our office for an appointment if:

  • A band feels loose.
  • You think the appliance needs to be checked.
  • You need advice.
  • You experience unusual symptoms.

Visit our Emergencies & Urgencies page for more helpful information.

Meet Dr. Held

Originally from Northern California, Dr. Cheryl L. Held began her orthodontic residency at the Saint Louis University Department of Orthodontics.
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  • 9979 WingHaven Blvd., Suite 200
  • O'Fallon, MO 63368
  • ph. 636.561.5550

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