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First Days In Expanders

The cement used to attach expanders to your teeth cures rapidly, but takes several hours to cure completely. You can eat any time after leaving the office.

However, remember the list of foods that may be harmful to 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 you speak.

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, because they apply very light force consistently over time. However, if you feel 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 crucial to clean your expander, using the hygiene kit and instructions provided. Doing so will prevent cavities and gingival discomfort. Please see the oral hygiene page for a review of cleaning instructions.


Text or call the office for an appointment if:

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

Visit the Emergencies and Urgencies page for more helpful information.

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