Adjusting Your or Your Child’s Palatal Expander

Locate the “key” provided by your dentist. This is a tool, usually a small metal rod, that is inserted into the screw at the center of the gear and provides lateral torque to force the hard palate to expand.If the key doesn’t have a safety string, secure the end with a long string or length of dental floss, which will allow for easy retrieval if you drop the key in your or your child’s mouth.

Insert the key into the hole in the screw of the central gear. In most cases you will be inserting the key into a small angled hole facing the back of your upper teeth (i.e. the key will be pointing out of your mouth)
If you are performing this on a child or young person, have them lay down and open their mouth as wide as possible to prevent gagging in case you accidentally touch their uvula. Make sure you have enough light to see clearly – use a flashlight if needed.

Turn the key as far as it will go. After inserting the key, and making sure not to hit the skin at the roof of the mouth, slowly and with consistent pressure turn the screw as far as it can go, towards the back of the throat.