Pendex Expander on a typodont

Appliance Profile What is the Purpose of the Pendex Expander?

The Pendex Appliance is made of acrylic and wires and sits fixed (non-removable) near the top of your mouth. It is attached by bands that are cemented to specific teeth. It uses an expansion screw to widen the upper jaw and pushes the upper teeth in a backward direction. This typically serves to correct both crowding and, in some cases, flaring of the upper front teeth. This appliance is often used when functional appliances or headgear cannot deliver optimal results.

Frequent Questions Learn More About the Expander

The Pendex Appliance consists of a plastic “button” that touches the roof of the mouth and resilient wire springs that act in a broad swinging arch to move the molars back. Within this button, there is a keyhole where you place the key and turn it according to the instructions given. This turning will widen the appliance, thus widening your upper palate. The appliance is not removable.

The Pendex Appliance is activated (or turned) once per day for a period of four weeks. Depending on the severity of the problem, you may increase or decrease the amount of turns. After approximately four weeks of activation, the doctor will make an additional adjustment which will begin to move the molar teeth in a backward direction.

This appliance is typically left in place for an average of eight months. After the molar teeth are in the correct position, brackets will be placed on the teeth in front of the molars, and they will be pulled back into the space left by moving the molars backward. Anterior braces and lower braces may be placed on during this period or later, depending upon each case.

The appliance is activated by using the key with the blue plastic handle. Place the key in the keyhole and rotate it by pushing down and back toward the throat, one-quarter turn. Make sure to push the key backward until you see the next hole appear. Remove the key by pushing it downward toward the tongue. You should do this once per day, usually at bedtime.

During the active turning phase of this appliance, it is of utmost importance that the patient be seen bi-weekly. If, for some reason, the patient missed an appointment, expanding the appliance should be discontinued.

During the activation of the appliance, some pressure may be experienced at the bridge of the nose or on the upper teeth. After approximately one week, a space may open between the front teeth. It is also normal for this space to close as the gum tissue brings the front teeth back together over the next few weeks. If the appliance appears to be loose or if there is persistent pain, call our office for an appointment as soon as possible.

Maintaining excellent oral hygiene is very important while this appliance is in place. Daily saltwater rinses are essential in maintaining the health of the gum tissue around the appliance. The use of a "Waterpik" is helpful in keeping the roof of the mouth clean. Food will have the tendency to collect around the keyhole and screw.