1. How to turn expander

Dr. Bonavoglia will instruct you exactly how to turn the expander appliance at your child’s visit. The “key” that we gave you fits into the center of the appliance.  After inserting it into the hole push it all the way to the back.  It is important that you move the key as far back as it will go or it will be difficult to find the hole the next time.

2. What to expect

How often should I turn my expander?

The amount of expansion required is different for every person. Dr. B will customize the amount of expansion that is best for you and instruct you on how many turns to do.

What should I expect after I turn my expander?

Patients usually experience some pressure or tenderness near the bridge of the nose and out toward the cheekbone. This is very normal. Tylenol may be helpful for this. You will most likely notice a space developing between the upper front teeth. This also is normal and is a good sign that the palatal bones are widening. Some people only experience a small space, while others notice a significant space. Do not be alarmed.

How long will I wear the expander?

Most expanders are in for about a year. This allows the palatal suture to fill in with bone and decreases the chance that the upper jaw will lose some of its expansion. Once the expander is removed, a smaller retainer will be placed to continue to give support.

3. Orthodontic Wax:

Wax is a great tool to keep with you at all times. If you find that you have something sharp or poking, rip off a small piece of wax, roll it into a ball and squish it right onto the sharp part of your expander.

4. Foods to Avoid


Eating certain foods can cause damage to your braces and wires. Loose bands, broken brackets and broken wires cause delays in your orthodontic treatment. Here is our list to help you through your orthodontic journey!ICE: May be nice but never chew it! It will damage your braces.

  • ICE: May be nice but never chew it! It will damage your braces.
  • PIZZA CRUST: The hard crust can bend the wires. The pizza part is ok.
  • HARD PRETZELS, HARD ROLLS, BAGELS: They bend wires and break brackets.
  • DORITOS, HARD TACOS, CHEETOS and the LIKE: They are too crunchy!
  • APPLES: Slices are okay, just don’t bite directly into the whole apple.
  • CORN ON THE COB: Cut the corn off of the cob.
  • CHICKEN AND RIBS: Cut the meat off the bone.
  • LOLLIPOPS, JOLLY RANCHERS, & HARD CANDY: They weaken your braces when you bite into them!
  • POPCORN: The little kernels get between the gum and the braces.
  • RAW CARROTS: Slice them thinly and eat with your back teeth.
  • NUTS: Nuts are way too hard. NO NUTS OF ANY KIND.
  • CARAMEL CORN, BUBBLE GUM, TAFFY, STARBURST: It sticks and it will pull wires out!
  • PENS AND PENCILS: Chewing on pens, pen caps or pencils can break brackets.

There are many other foods that may cause trouble.
If you are in doubt, ask us about a particular food item.