The Palate Expander Update

At the orthodontist’s office, I was almost not going to be let back in to be with my daughter when they put the palate expander in.  I had to spend time talking with the assistant and orthodontist who had an appearance and attitude reminiscent of Andrew Dice Clay, trying to explain I needed to be there in case 7 year old highly sensitive and formerly selectively mute daughter had any issues.

I tried to explain how I needed to be there…and I just felt some hostility…or perhaps it was my own projection…because I forgot how complicated it is to explain to people who don’t know her anxiety had triggered some major upsets.

I don’t WANT to explain why I have to be with my daughter…just in case she flips out.  Experiences like the ER visit she had where we had to restrain her physically because she was screaming and kicking and didn’t want her head wound glued shut caused me to be uncertain as to how she’ll respond to medical/dental procedures.

Hell, even HAIRCUTS and NORMAL DENTAL EXAMS used to be cause for concern.

When I did get to go back there…she was crying.

I hate, yes hate, that the so-called professionals just don’t have any idea that parents know their kids quite well.

It turned out okay and she did great, even if mama bear did come out a little bit in the beginning.


So, it’s day four with the palate expander:

How things are going with the 7 year old and the palate expander

Day 1:  Turned the key.  No pain.

Day 2:  Turned the key.  Pain.  Ouch.

Day 3:  Clamped mouth shut so I couldn’t get the key in.  Then relented.  Turned the key.  Pain. Tears.  Ice water.  Hugs.

Day 4:  Tears.  I hadn’t even gotten close to her mouth.  Hugs and kisses.    Turned the key.  Pain.  Tears.  Ice water.  Hugs and kisses.    Comment from K after it was done:

“I don’t like the key.  It’s my enemy.”


Feeding this child is difficult.

She is getting so tired of smoothies, soup, spaghettios, yogurt, mushy foods.  And some things are no-no’s.  Gum.  Chewy Candy.  Stuff that’s too hard.  Bread.  NO!

And even if it’s soft, things get stuck up in there.  Like eggs…Yuck!  I think she had a whole omelet stuck up there today.

And this child is the one that gets SO. CRANKY. if she doesn’t get enough to eat.  And it sucks because yesterday she was crying and whiny for an hour but refused to eat…which made her more cranky.


For a first hand account of what it’s like to be an 8 year old with a Palate Expander, check out The Never Ending Adventures of Collin and his Palate Expander.

This entry was posted in Palate Expander for child, selective mutism. Bookmark the permalink.

8 Responses to The Palate Expander Update

  1. Rick says:

    All I can say is “yikes,” for both of you. And I love “the key is my enemy.” OK, that wasn’t the quote, but close enough. She’s going to have some interesting dreams.

  2. raisingsmartgirls says:

    Yeah, she says things that quite floors me sometimes. You should hear the questions she asks me or the comments she makes about God.

    For instance, it also stormed shortly after I put her in bed. She says to me, “Oh great. Why do the angels have to bowl, God have to take pictures and Jesus have to water the plants right now?”

    It’s terrifically cute when she said it in her lispy, slurpy voice thanks to the palate expander.

  3. amy says:

    Please tell your daughter that Colin is rooting for her. He just did his 20th key turn and the last one until he returns to the dentist on Thursday. He is actually sad about not having to do it tomorrow. Can you believe that? Colin sounds so much like your daughter but please tell her he says everything will be okay. They are in this together 🙂 and not alone :). Good luck to you too, Mom. It gets easier as the one who does it, just so you know 🙂

  4. raisingsmartgirls says:

    Amy –

    Thanks so much for the support. Yes, I’m glad the kids (and I) don’t have to feel quite so alone with this. And K really liked reading Colin’s experiences. We sure do appreciate him for writing about his. It reassured us both.

    She’d noticed that it stopped hurting when we turned the key..and we can definitely see a space now, making room for her adult tooth that was crooked and set back too far in her mouth. I am so glad it doesn’t hurt any more for her. There were a few really bad times…but now she can’t really feel it.

    I’ll let her know Colin says it will be okay. That will be a nice thing for her to hear.

    Best Wishes to both of you.


  5. Layne says:

    Just ran across this. I’m 20 years old and had an expander when I was 9. My mouth still hurts sometimes from having it. Kinda sucks.

  6. Trish says:

    How long did you have to wear it?

  7. Lana Batick says:

    I’m hearing now that my 7-year old needs a palate expander. You’re account is very helpful !

  8. Lana Batick says:

    Sorry about the awful spelling…”Your” not “You’re”… duh! Oh yes, and we need head gear too!? I’m dreading it like crazy! I really hope that it reduces some of the ortho work that she may need to have done later, although, I feel like some of this is premature and the orthodontists are out to make a buck off of us. How does a parent know? The orthodontists are supposed to be the experts, and I really want to trust them, but I can’t help embarking on this whole experience with a healthy dose of skepticism.

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