There are a few different designs for these expanders but all of them have a center screw that has to be turned with a key. The number of turns will be determined specifically for each patient and a ‘prescription’ for turning will be given to you at the delivery of your expander.
The expander is turned or “activated” by placing the key into the keyhole in the center screw and then gently pushing the key towards the back of the mouth one notch. The screw and key are self limiting so it stops after one turn. The key is designed so that you will not poke or hurt the patient when turning properly. After the turning has started, the front teeth will usually begin to separate. Don’t panic. This is a good sign and means the appliance is doing its job! Likewise, don’t worry if space does not appear between front teeth, Depending on the amount and location of crowding, space may not appear. After we’ve achieved the desired expansion, you’ll continue to wear the appliance to allow the bone to fill in. This process takes about 4 months from the date of the last turn but Dr. Moricz will determine when your expander will be removed based upon your individual treatment plan.