View Full Version : Anyone's Kid have a Palette Expander?

03-29-2007, 07:36 AM
The orthodontist says my son needs a palette expander - $1200 and it's not covered by insurance...UGH! Just curious if anyone here has had any experience with one? He will need to wear it for a year. Is it painful?

03-29-2007, 07:46 AM
The orthodontist says my son needs a palette expander - $1200 and it's not covered by insurance...UGH! Just curious if anyone here has had any experience with one? He will need to wear it for a year. Is it painful?

Both of my DDs needed expanders due to a cross bite. They had different kinds. DD10 needed one that had to be turned nightly and it was in for about 6 -8 months, I believe. DD8 has one now that only got turned once by ortho. She will have it for less then a year.

Both cost less then what you were quoted and both were partially covered by our dental insurance.

They both complained when they first had them put in and the one that had to be turned was more painful. Neither have complained much. There speech is affected a little and they have to practice talking once they get it put in!

03-29-2007, 07:46 AM
This sounds like the same thing that my daughter needs, though our "plan" with the orthodontist is for $4000 over the next 14 months, including all appt., etc.... Not sure how much the insurance is paying yet! The whole thing sounds a little scary to me, but necessary according to our orthodontist, who I trust. I'm interested to hear what others will say!!

03-29-2007, 07:49 AM
My daughter is currently wearing one, and yes it costs alot! Ours is costing $2650 for all appliances, treatments and appointments and that's after the insurance portion. This is just phase 1 of the orthodonture, which will last for 2 years, after which she'll need braces too!!!

03-29-2007, 07:49 AM
I think I had one of these as a child!! If it is what I am thinking, I had to turn it every night with a keylike thing, to make it wider, hence expanding the roof of my mouth. It would be sore after I did it, but not extremely painful. The worst thing I remember about it, was I could not speak clearly. Your tongue is not able to strike the top of your mouth, and I couldn't say things like, Key, eight. I was made fun of and one teacher even thought I had a speech impediment (well, I guess I did). I was extremely shy and embaressed easily, it was nightmare. In math class, we always had to say our scores outloud for the teacher to mark them down, well, wouldn't you know, I swear I got an 88% EVERYTIME on my papers after that. Eventually, I just got up and showed her the paper (an option, usually for students with a bad grade), so everybody thought I was failing math. Couldn't win!! I hated reading outloud too. Same thing, kids are so mean!! Just make sure your child is prepared for this as well. My mom didn't bother to talk to my teachers, looking back, I wish she would have, I was just too shy to.

03-29-2007, 07:54 AM
My DD had one on her top and one on her bottom. It did cost alot of money. I think it came out to be 1400. We just made monthly payments until it was paid off. She complained when she first got it, but after awhile she got use to it. Her's we had to turn the key every couple of days. She did speak funny w/ her's. Her teacher thought she had a speech impairment until we told her she had the expanders in and that what was causing her to speak funny.

03-29-2007, 08:00 AM
I had one when I was 8 (26 now). It was slightly painful. Mine had to be turned every night towards the back of my throat. The key they gave me was too long and my dad pushed it too far into the hole in the top and it got stuck. We were able to get it out and we shortened it. I would take 1 childrens tylenol everyday with it for pain. I had a speech problem and also food would constantly get caught on the top of it. And there was no way to clean it other than trying to rinse your mouth with water and even that didnt help. It was pretty gross when I had it taken out. I had mine for 1.5 years.

03-29-2007, 08:05 AM
DD16 had one prior to getting her braces. The cost was included in the total orthodentic package. We had to return once a month for a total of 6 months to have them "expand" it. DD said she was glad she didn't have to do the nightly thing. There was a small amount of discomfort after each visit but nothing compared to the pain she had from the braces.

03-29-2007, 08:24 AM
My DD8 is getting her expander today! It is one that we will have turn turn (I think) once or twice a day for 2-3 weeks, then it will stay in place while the membrane and bone reforms. I believe 6-8 months total. After 3-4 months, they will add braces to her front teeth. We are looking at 14-15 months treatment time for Phase I, at a cost to us of $2600 (which is about $1000 discount from the regular price)

03-29-2007, 08:41 AM
Former Hyrax (pallet expander) patient here. I did have to turn mine and I was a college age at the time. It was uncomfortable (pressure and soreness) the longer I wore it. I do remember crying one night as I cranked the key. BUT one morning shortly after I awoke with a HUGE gap between my to front teeth. I was mortified!!!
Aparently the exander worked and finally split my upper pallet. The dentist quickly saw me to start closing the gap (it's amazing how fast your teeth can move). So the OP asked what our experiences were with the expander right? Well, it would seem some what negative from the earlier posts and even mine BUT it was needed for my cross bite and I am so glad I had my teeth fixed. I don't think I had to wear it as long as a year and luckily mom was still paying for the treatment with some insurance assistance. In the end my teeth cost 11K. That was 10+ years ago too. That included braces, expander and jaw surgery! THank you Mom!;)

03-29-2007, 08:47 AM
Did you get a second opinion? The reason that I ask is because a friend of mine is going through this with her son right now. The ortho in her insurance plan said that he *need* the expander. He said that it would be very painful and suggested that they do it over spring break because he won't be able to eat much and it will be difficult for him to talk until he gets used to it.

She decided to go and get another opinion so she's taken him to 3 other orthos (out of network) but all three are saying that he does not need the expander.

You may want to get another opinion.

03-29-2007, 08:56 AM
My dd got her braces last month after having an expander for 6 months. She's a huge whiner and she never once complained of any pain. Her expanders (she had top and bottom jaw expanders) were removable. I only had to turn hers twice a week. Probably why she didn't complain. I know some treatment plans include turning way more often then two times a week. Ours was also a package deal so I can't recall what portion of our treatment plan is just for expanders. I think it had to be somewhere around $1200 though because our insurance covered 1/2 and I paid a bit over $600 when she got them.

03-29-2007, 09:06 AM
All three of my kids had one due to cross bite problems. Our cost was actually part of the brace package so I don't remember exactly how much just the expander was. I know the brace package (expander, braces, appts., etc.) was over $4,000 for each of my children. Our insurance paid about $1,200 of that. The kind my kids had (the last one had his about 10 years ago) was with a key which had to be turned, at first every night, then every few nights as the expander began working. I do remember all of them complaining about the discomfort. I'm sure over the past 10 years there has been some improvement in the procedure, though. I will say all of my kids now have beautiful teeth.

03-29-2007, 09:10 AM
DD10 has been wearing a rapid palatal expander for about four months and already we can see the improvement in her teeth...her front teeth were crossed and now there is actually a space between them. The RPE was only painful for the first week and she complained not about pressure on her palate, but on the teeth the RPE was attached to. This method is far superior to taking a wait and see approach by which time the bone in the palate may have hardened - then, major orthognathic surgery would be required with the wiring of the jaws and the whole nine yards.

I work at one of the dental schools in Boston so I very carefully researched the best treatment method for DD...she is being cared for by some of the top specialists in the country. It seems like a lot of misery and money now but will be worth it in the end. From an historical perspective, human jaws are getting smaller from the reliance on processed food in our diets yet the teeth are not getting smaller and therefore the need for so much orthodontic therapy, including extractions and expansion of the palate (not palette or pallet:teeth: )

03-29-2007, 09:14 AM
My son had a palate expander when he was about 5 for a cross bite. He now has some braces, wears headgear, and has a quad helix on the bottom (basically a bottom expander)

We had the kind where we had to crank it once a day for 21 days. He never complained that it hurt. He said it made his nose tingle for several minutes after it was cranked, but it never caused pain. It took him several days to not drool a lot though. At first TONS of food got stuck up there after every meal, but that seemed to get better.

If your ortho (and maybe a second opinion) says it needs to be done....don't delay too long. Jaws are much more maliable when they are young and soft. It may extend treatment (b/c they'll have to keep in retainers until things have solidified) but it'll be easier to move things around.

*I* needed something done with my jaw when I was young. I don't think palate expanders existed, so instead I had braces starting when I was about 12 or 13. And in the process of that they had to pull EIGHT adult teeth. My jaw is too small now, I have no chin on profile, and my teeth are still very tight. Can't change the past, but I wish I had had a palate expander!

03-29-2007, 09:17 AM
DS got one in February on his uppers and we turn it every other day for a total of 30 turns (last one is Saturday:thumbsup2 ). After that it stays in for ~4 months for the bones to set or whatever they do. The cost was part of the total ortho package so I don't know how much it is specifically but $1200 wouldn't surprise me (his total ortho bill would pay for an older used car I think but we're looking at 3 years for braces after this expander). My son has not found the expander to be particularly painful and really has not had any discomfort from the turns other than occasionally his nose feels funny :upsidedow . However getting used to eating with it was a major pain and took several days - he had to figure out how to push food past the wire. Now it's merely an annoyance although he's anxious to get it off.
Good luck!

03-29-2007, 10:49 AM
My DD14 had one about 2 years ago or so. It started before her braces went on. It was the kind that we (actually DH) had to turn every night. It was painful for her at first and she had troubel speaking and she drooled alot. I think it was on for 6 months. Before it was put on the dentist pulled 4 teeth to have room for it. She got her braces on about 6 months after the palate expander came off. Her braces are due to come off in AUgust07.

The cost for the palate expander was about $1000 of which our insurance paid half. The total braces is about $4500 of which the insurance is paying $1000. The rest has been paid in monthly installements to the ortho(at 0% interest).

DD has been having tooth probelms from the time she was about 8 years old. SHe is so happy to see the end in sight of her braces!

03-29-2007, 05:02 PM
Both DS and DD have had those. They were not as costly as what you have been quoted. Our insurance paid 50% of everything, including that. They didn't complain about pain at all, but I just couldn't turn that screw. It seemed like their mouth was getting ripped apart gradually. DW turned the screw instead of me.

03-29-2007, 05:28 PM
Did you get a second opinion? The reason that I ask is because a friend of mine is going through this with her son right now. The ortho in her insurance plan said that he *need* the expander. He said that it would be very painful and suggested that they do it over spring break because he won't be able to eat much and it will be difficult for him to talk until he gets used to it.

She decided to go and get another opinion so she's taken him to 3 other orthos (out of network) but all three are saying that he does not need the expander.

You may want to get another opinion.

I would like to second this opinion! :thumbsup2

The first orthodontist I took DD to said she needed an expander among other things from just an examination. The second one did a pan xray and told me what she needed from that, and the expander was not a part of it. :idea:

Good Luck! :yay:

03-29-2007, 05:36 PM
My DD, now 19, had this procedure done twice. The first time, which did not take, was when she was 10. We were moving out of state, had the Hyrax removed (the Orthodontist assured us that this would not be a problem, after all he was Brett Farve's Ortho) and was fitted for a retainer. Fast forward to the next state, several Orthodontists did not want to start treatment/braces until she completed her "growth spurt". Her dad and I thought fine, we'll wait. By the time she was able to start treatment/braces, at 15 ( a late bloomer), her palate had reverted to it's original state. And yep, you guessed it, we paid oop about $1200 the first time, and $4500 the 2nd time (insurance covered some of this). I turned the key, both times, nightly, and she had a large gap both times. Luckily for her, the 2nd gap was during the summer months.

03-29-2007, 07:57 PM
Both my DD and DS had one. They had an underbite and crossbite. The expander prevented her from looking like a bulldog. My DD had to stop treatment halfway through because she had so many loose baby teeth. In the time it took for them to all come out and grow back in you could really see everything moving back. Good thing it didn't take to long.

As far as food getting stuck above it....I purchased a water pick. Shot that left over stuff right out of there:lmao:

Mari annie
03-29-2007, 09:29 PM
My daughter goes into Boston to Havard Dental College for her ortho.
She had that but was included in everything.

Check to see if you have any dental colleges in your area, or local cities near you, they are all supervised by professors, etc.
I got a great deal. Everything included in her tops/bottoms for braces for less than 1000.00! I only have a 40 minute drive to Boston. I wished I knew about that for my son previously!

Good luck. Ortho is so expensive!;)

4.10 Sunny FL for 2 weeks can't wait!:dance3: :rolleyes1 :cool1: :thumbsup2

03-29-2007, 09:45 PM
Hmmmm....my orthodontist didn't even do any xrays....he just examined him and immediately told me he would need the palette expander. Now I am thinking I definitely should get a 2nd opinion. Thanks everyone!!

03-30-2007, 09:47 AM
My youngest daughter had a palette expander put on when she was 4 yo. Her upper teeth were totally missing her lower teeth and you could see it to look at her. We did the turning with a little key every week and it worked like magic. I do remember giving her tylenol occasionally and she had it done over the summer to get used to speaking with it. She's 11 now and both girls are done with braces. $11,000 for both mouths, no insurance. I keep telling them about the vacations that are in those smiles! They know they better not skip wearing their retainers or else I want payback!! Both my girls really had no problems with the braces. I never had them but my husband did and his memories are way worse than my girls' experiences. Things have improved in orthodontics in 30 years I guess!

03-30-2007, 10:08 AM
I know lots of kids that have them or are getting them. My son 10, has braces on his top 4 teeth with brackets on the back and headgear to correct an overjet. This is one year, then he gets the full set of braces and wears them for about 2 years. My total cost of ortho care for 3 years (all appliances, appointments, xrays, retainers, etc) is $6100. My insurance only paid $2000, so we paid the rest.

I can't tell you how dramatic the change in the shape of his mouth has been with the overjet being corrected. Right before he got the top stuff and headgear my husband claimed that our son was starting to look like Cletus the slack-jawed yokel from the Simpsons. Now, he looks amazing, well normal I should say. :goodvibes It will be 1 year in June. I can't believe how fast braces work.

03-30-2007, 10:10 AM
When I was telling my mom about DD getting the RPE, I told her I wish they had that when I was younger. I had 5 teeth pulled before I got braces, and then had my wisdom teeth extracted several years later. If this little appliance gives DD a better shot at not having extractions, we are all for it. We only have to turn once a day for 7 days, then go back in two weeks for them to check and see if we need to turn it more.

Those of you who have or had one of these - which way did you turn the screw? Everything I read says it turns toward the back of the mouth, but we are supposed to turn to the front. I need to look at the darn thing when we get home and see if it has arrows on it. I'm sure we are doing it correctly; I'm just wondering what others have done.

03-30-2007, 10:23 AM
My daughter had one.
I had to turn it with a crank.
I was told when she was a baby that she had a very narrow dental arch.
The process was started when she was 11.

We did get her a water pick and that helped.

The good part is that she has beautiful teeth and a million dollar smile.