What is an RME?

A Rapid Maxillary Expansion, or RME, is an expander appliance. It is designed to broaden the upper jaw to create more space or correct bite problems. This appliance will require a series of simple activations (turns) to achieve the expansion required. Once the desired expansion is achieved, the expander will stay in place to stabilize the results.

How does the RME expander work?

  • Once the expander is placed, it is turned (and widened) at regular intervals by you at home - please follow instructions given to you by Dr. Millar and Dr. Ponce.
  • If you forget to do a turn, do NOT do extra turns to catch up - just keep track of how many turns you have done and let us know at the next appointment.
  • Stop turning the appliance when you have completed the prescribed number of turns recommended by Dr. Millar & Dr. Ponce. 
  • After expansion, the appliance becomes a passive retainer and will likely stay in the mouth for an additional 4-6 months to allow for the bone to remodel and to prevent relapse. Then the expander will be removed.

How do I turn the RME expander?

The expander, which is placed in the palate, needs to be turned by you at home using the key we provide. The frequency of this expansion will be advised by Dr. Millar and Dr. Ponce.

Check out our Instagram 'Expanders' Highlights for a step-by-step guide to turning.

What should I expect?

  • When the appliance is initially placed teeth may be slightly tender. This usually subsides after a couple of days.
  • Speech may be affected slightly by this appliance as it does cover the roof of your mouth. The more that you are able to speak, the faster you will adapt. Reading out loud, singing in the car or talking a lot at home are a few things that will help your speech get back to normal quickly.
  • When the appliance is first placed you may produce extra saliva. As you get used to the appliance this will subside.
  • You may notice a space appear between your upper front teeth. This is to be expected and is not permanent.

How do I clean the RME?

  • Take extra care to brush well around the appliance and molar bands as you may find more plaque and bacteria accumulating in those areas.
  • Swish with water after eating to loosen any food stuck to it.
  • Avoid sticky, chewy (gum, caramel etc.) or hard foods which may loosen or damage the appliance.

What else do I need to know?

  • Expanders may be used before, or at the same time, as braces.
  • Orthopedic jaw changes can only be accomplished in younger, growing patients.
  • If the expander becomes loose, please stop turning the appliance and call our practice for further instruction.

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