My Experience as a Dental Hygienist & Patient Using Removable Dental Expanders- Week 1 & 2

Updated: Sep 9, 2020

Two weeks have gone by and I am ready to "turn" the key to expand my Ohlehdorf Appliance Lab removable expanders!

Before I share my video on how I did this, I want to share how my first 2 weeks went with you. Let's start with the basics of expanding...

In order for to achieve dental arch expansion, I need to have intermittent pressure applied. This means, I need to wear the appliances while I sleep and then another 6 hours during the day. The good news is I don't need to wear the expanders 24/7. Another nice feature is this schedule is conducive if you work from home, like I do. So a typical day for me would be:


1- Wear to Bed

2- Have my coffee/breakfast, wear expanders for two hours before lunch time

3- Allow for another 2 hours of wear in the afternoon

4- After winding down, pop in the expanders while catching up on emails, reading or watching TV for another 2 hours

It may be more challenging if you speak throughout the day or have an office job, but not impossible :) ... As long as you are able to wear the appliances sporadically throughout the day, even in short spurts, totaling 6 hours, you too can expand your dental arches!

A suggested schedule for the Commuter or Speaker would be shorter but more frequent wear time:

Suggested Wear Schedule For The Commuter or Speaker:

1- Wear to Bed

2- Wear expanders while getting ready for work (1-1.5 hours)

3- Wear expanders on commute to work (.5-1.0 hours)

4- Wear expanders after eating lunch/coffee break (even if for 1/2 hour) (.5-1 hour)

5- Wear expanders on commute home up until dinner ( 2 hours)

6- After dinner (2 Hours)

Week 1 - Compared to Week 2

I was pleasantly surprised how comfortable the expanders felt upon initial insertion; very smooth, no jagged or cutting edges like I had experienced with aligners. I do need to warn you that when first placed, I felt like water works. I was a drooling mess! I also felt conscious of swallowing and was not able to speak very well. After some getting used to (1 full day), I had increased saliva, but not like Day 1. I was able to swallow more naturally. You will be doing a lot of "slurping" in the beginning; my way of describing a "saliva suck back sound." This too fades over time, but can by annoying to those around you. Also, I am able to speak better, but still have a lisp, so I don't recommend having a Zoom call with them in, unless your are muted. No-one can see the expanders while wearing them, but they could certainly tell by your speech that you are either knocking back margaritas or are wearing some type of oral appliance that is causing slurred speech.

Ready to Expand the Expander!

The best way to show you how I expanded my Ohlendorf Appliance Lab removable expander is via my YouTube Video below. Watch to see for yourself:

In my next blog, I will share my visit to see the world renowned oral surgeon, Dr. Scott Siegel. He will be evaluating for a potential tongue tie and I will also be getting a CBCT scan to measure my airway. Ideally, this would have been done prior to starting my expansion treatment but circumstances got in the way. Stay tuned!