Early Orthodontic Treatment with an RPE (Rapid Palatal Expander)

We’ll be featuring some interesting cases and orthodontic tips in our Clinical Spotlight feature on the blog weekly!

Today we wanted to show a few examples of younger patients who had Early Treatment with a Rapid Palatal Expander (RPE), resulting in a broader jaw with more space for proper eruption of their permanent teeth.

Below is an image of our patent who otherwise would have needed premolar extractions to correct her crowding. Instead we achieved full alignment with an expander, without any extractions.


An expander is especially important in patients with a narrow upper jaw with a cross-bite (upper jaw not fitting with the lower jaw), and in patients with severe crowding (large teeth and small jaws), blocking proper eruption of the adult teeth.   We also use it in conjunction with a facemark in patients with an underbite (Class III relationship) where the lower jaws and teeth are forwards relative to the upper jaws and teeth.

Below are three cases in which severe crowding was corrected with an upper expander during early treatment (at 7-9 years old).

In many cases, early treatment with an expander helps our patients avoid future surgery due to impacted teeth or extractions of adult teeth due to crowding.  Early treatment with an expander can also help in avoiding problems associated with a posterior cross-bite (narrow upper jaw, where the upper jaw is smaller than the lower jaw) such as dental & skeletal asymmetry and jaw problems.

Below are two more patients who had success with early expander treatment. The first is a standard expander only case, and the second is an expander with facemask therapy (for an anterior underbite, with a Class III growth pattern – protrusive lower jaw & teeth)

The best time to use an RPE is during a period of active growth, before the upper jaw bones & suture become connected permanently (average age from 7-9 y/o).

For more information about expander treatment read on at: tri-ortho.com/current-patients/appliances.

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Tri-Valley Orthodontics is a private Family Orthodontics practice in San Ramon CA owned and operated by Dr Jesse Ko and Dr Anne Yoon – both Orthodontists.  Our practice is unique in that both Dr. Ko & Dr. Yoon, work alongside each other each patient day. This allows us to provide more hands on care directly from our doctors to our patients.  We provide metal, clear, invisible lingual braces and Invisalign for Kids, Teens and Adults.  Our initial consultations are always complimentary.

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