Ranked as a Top 1% Invisalign® provider in the US.
Skip to main content

Orthodontic Expander Specialist

San Ramon Orthodontics -  - Orthodontist

San Ramon Orthodontics

Orthodontists located in San Ramon, CA

Palatal expansion is the method of choice to create more room in a narrow jaw. At San Ramon Orthodontics in San Ramon, California, Dr. Hannah Karkhanechi specializes in using the most cutting-edge palatal expanders to create the space your mouth needs to accommodate all your teeth without any complications. Get in touch with San Ramon Orthodontics today by phone or online to learn more about the benefits of palatal expanders.

Orthodontic Expander Q & A

What is a palatal expander?

A palatal expander refers to an orthodontic device used to create more space in the mouth by progressively expanding the jaw over time. In most cases, palatal expanders are often used in children, as their jaw is still developing and malleable.  

There are three main types of palatal expansion:

Rapid palatal expansion (RPE)

Rapid palatal expansion uses the device to expand the upper jaw every day using a key inside the center of the expander.

Slow expansion

Slow expansion works similarly as RPE, although Dr. Karkhanechi turns the jackscrew at the center of the device at a much slower rate. It typically takes up to 11 weeks for the expansion to be complete.

How does a palatal expander work?

A palatal expander attaches to the inside of the upper molars on each side of the mouth. The device itself is made up of two halves connected in the middle by a screw.

Dr. Karkhanechi tells you how to turn the screw daily. The bone in the palate moves outward with every turn, causing the mouth to produce new bone in the middle area.

Once you’ve reached the expansion required for proper dental health, the device stays in your mouth until the new bone has fully stabilized.  

When should you consider getting a palatal expander?

At San Ramon Orthodontics, Dr. Karkhanechi recommends palatal expanders in any of these three most common cases:


Crossbite occurs when the upper jaw is too narrow to fit with the lower jaw naturally. In this case, you’ll notice that the back top teeth bite inside the lower teeth. To fix this, palatal expanders work on the upper jaw to correct the bite.


Dr. Karkhanechi can quickly determine whether there will be enough room in your child’s mouth to accommodate all their natural teeth. If she concludes that there isn’t enough room, she’ll need to use palatal expanders to widen the upper jaw and create space.

Impacted teeth

An impacted tooth refers to when a tooth obstructs the proper breaching of another. Palatal expanders can effectively widen the upper jaw enough to make sure nothing gets in the way of your teeth growing in unobstructed.

Get in touch with San Ramon Orthodontics today by phone or online to book a palatal expansion consultation.

Surgically-assisted rapid palatal expansion (SARPE)

Dr. Karkhanechi uses surgically-assisted rapid palatal expansion when the upper jaw hasn’t developed enough to accommodate all the teeth in the dental arch.

During this surgical and orthodontic procedure, Dr. Karkhanechi starts by placing a personalized expander that fits in the palate and that uses the first molars and premolars for support.

Once the expander is activated, Dr. Karkhanechi surgically fractures the upper jaw to create bone cuts that allow for bone segments to move symmetrically into the desired position.