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PostPosted: Sun Jan 08, 2006 3:48 pm 
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What is the difference between a Quad Helix Expander (no key) and the Rapid Palatal Expander (to be used with a key)?

Are there more appointments involved with a Quad Helix because the ortho has to make the adjsutments?

Is the outcome better on Quad Helix vs. the RPE? Is it easier to adjust to the Quad Helix or the RPE? How long until your speech and eating is back to normal?

Which is more comfortable? Which effects your speech more?

ssfw

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Quad-Helix expander: 1/20/06 - 1/16/07
Upper braces: 5/19/06; lower braces: 9/7/06

Braces removed: 8/19/08
Received retainer: 8/26/08 - wearing retainer 24 hours/day

Next appt.: 11/18/08


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PostPosted: Sun Jan 08, 2006 5:14 pm 
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I have both quad and bi helix expanders right now. They haven't really caused me any problems with speaking or eating. Some people complain that it takes weeks to be able to speak properly and eat solid foods, but I was okay within a couple of days. I eat steak without any problems (with the exception of the few days following adjustments). To expand my upper quad helix, the ortho uses like a set of pliers to tighten it, but it doesn't hurt- I just feel the slightest bit of pressure. To expand my lower bi helix expander, they had to remove it and then put it back in. That was a little uncomfortable.

I have no clue about the RPE, but if you look in the braces stories forum or do a search I'm sure you can find a lot of info.

Click on WWW below to read my story and see my pics if you're interested.

I hope that helps you! Good luck with your braces journey.

Jen

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Upper Braces & Both Expanders 9/14/05
Lower Braces 1/5/06
Estimated Treatment Time: 24-27 months


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PostPosted: Sun Jan 08, 2006 5:30 pm 
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Location: Texas
I can't speak from personal experience, and I'm sure it's varies from person to person and for different ages, but I can tell you my 8 year old daughter's experience with the RPE so far.

She had it put in about 2 1/2 weeks ago. We turn the top (RPE) 1x per day and the bottom (Schwarz) 1x every other day. It's quite easy to do the turns; you have a wire key attached to a plastic handle. You just poke the wire in the hole and rotate toward the back of the mouth.

Until just 2 days ago, she had no pain at all, then just a bit on the bottom recently (I'm sure her age is a plus). 1 Advil took care of that.

She is supposed to go in every 4 weeks; not sure how long we continue to turn. I'll have to ask when she goes in next week. :Questions:

The first few hours she had difficulty dealing with her saliva, but got that under control quickly. Her speech was quite noticeable the 1st day, but now most people wouldn't even know she has orthodontics.

Sorry this is so long! :oops: I hope it helps!

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PostPosted: Sun Jan 08, 2006 5:34 pm 
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Hi Jen,

Thanks for the info.

What's a bi helix expander?

My ortho told me people usually adjust within a couple after placement of the expander. I'm going to talk to him again this Tuesday when I have the spacers removed and impression made for my expander. If this is what he says and from what you have said, I may move my upcoming palcement of expander appt. up by a week. My original plan was to have the expander palced on 1/31/06 due to a special event I was attending prior to that date. I didn't want the chance of major discomfort until after the event. I'll see what my ortho says.

It seems you adjusted well to your expanders. How often do you have to go in for adjustments on your expanders. Did you have braces on at the same time as your expanders. How long do you have to wear your expanders?


Good luck with your ortho treatment.

ssfw
JN_Woods wrote:
I have both quad and bi helix expanders right now. They haven't really caused me any problems with speaking or eating. Some people complain that it takes weeks to be able to speak properly and eat solid foods, but I was okay within a couple of days. I eat steak without any problems (with the exception of the few days following adjustments). To expand my upper quad helix, the ortho uses like a set of pliers to tighten it, but it doesn't hurt- I just feel the slightest bit of pressure. To expand my lower bi helix expander, they had to remove it and then put it back in. That was a little uncomfortable.

I have no clue about the RPE, but if you look in the braces stories forum or do a search I'm sure you can find a lot of info.

Click on WWW below to read my story and see my pics if you're interested.

I hope that helps you! Good luck with your braces journey.

Jen

_________________
Quad-Helix expander: 1/20/06 - 1/16/07
Upper braces: 5/19/06; lower braces: 9/7/06

Braces removed: 8/19/08
Received retainer: 8/26/08 - wearing retainer 24 hours/day

Next appt.: 11/18/08


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PostPosted: Sun Jan 08, 2006 5:44 pm 
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Joined: Sun Aug 28, 2005 8:47 am
Posts: 85
ssfw,

A bihelix has 2 loops and a quadhelix has 4 loops. I have pics of both of my expanders in my braces journal. They are pretty much like an unfolded/rebent paper clip.

The spacers were by far much worse than the expanders have been.

I *thought* having an RPE placed in an adult required surgery? Am I wrong? I didn't have to have surgery to have my expanders.

You might want to wait until after your special event. Some people have trouble adjusting. I think I adjusted better than most do. Some have saliva issues. You might not be able to eat anything. After adjustments (and expander installation) I couldn't eat anything really crunchy or solid for maybe a week. I always take advil and that keeps most of the pain away.

I have adjustments about every 6 weeks. They have adjusted my upper expander twice and my lower once (which was annoying because they took it off and had to put it back in. They put my upper brackets on one week, then I went back in the next week for the archwire and both of my expanders. I just had my lower braces put on 3 days ago. I should have my expanders about 6 months, so not too much longer to go, but they don't bug me too much. Food gets caught sometimes, so you have to have a little dental pick or one of those small brushes (proxi?). I recommend the DentaKit if you don't have one already. You definitely need to brush after all meals and snacks.

Good luck and let me know if you have any other questions!

Jen

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Upper Braces & Both Expanders 9/14/05
Lower Braces 1/5/06
Estimated Treatment Time: 24-27 months


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PostPosted: Sun Jan 08, 2006 6:45 pm 
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Posts: 652
Thanks so much for the info. Jen.
Just curious, does the bihelix (2 loops vs. 4 loops on the Quad Helix) mean you have less expansion to be done or is it used for a certain reason?

Now I'm not sure what I'm going to do regarding when I want the expander placed. I pretty much didn't have any problems with the spacers (Advil-free) :D . My goal is to try to get my speech back to normal as soon as possible.

Maybe in some cases a person will have to have surgey to get the expander but in my case he said I had the option of having jaw surgery to move my lower jaw forward and to maximize correction of my overjet but I chose not to have the surgery.

Thanks for the info regarding how often the adjustments are. My braces will not be placed for about 4 months - I will ask him again at my appt. next Tuesday.

Thanks again for your time in providing this info for me Jen - it's very helpful to know what to expect.


ssfw

JN_Woods wrote:
ssfw,

A bihelix has 2 loops and a quadhelix has 4 loops. I have pics of both of my expanders in my braces journal. They are pretty much like an unfolded/rebent paper clip.

The spacers were by far much worse than the expanders have been.

I *thought* having an RPE placed in an adult required surgery? Am I wrong? I didn't have to have surgery to have my expanders.

You might want to wait until after your special event. Some people have trouble adjusting. I think I adjusted better than most do. Some have saliva issues. You might not be able to eat anything. After adjustments (and expander installation) I couldn't eat anything really crunchy or solid for maybe a week. I always take advil and that keeps most of the pain away.

I have adjustments about every 6 weeks. They have adjusted my upper expander twice and my lower once (which was annoying because they took it off and had to put it back in. They put my upper brackets on one week, then I went back in the next week for the archwire and both of my expanders. I just had my lower braces put on 3 days ago. I should have my expanders about 6 months, so not too much longer to go, but they don't bug me too much. Food gets caught sometimes, so you have to have a little dental pick or one of those small brushes (proxi?). I recommend the DentaKit if you don't have one already. You definitely need to brush after all meals and snacks.

Good luck and let me know if you have any other questions!

Jen

_________________
Quad-Helix expander: 1/20/06 - 1/16/07
Upper braces: 5/19/06; lower braces: 9/7/06

Braces removed: 8/19/08
Received retainer: 8/26/08 - wearing retainer 24 hours/day

Next appt.: 11/18/08


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PostPosted: Sun Jan 08, 2006 6:52 pm 
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Joined: Sat Nov 12, 2005 1:00 pm
Posts: 652
Hi pruettmj,

Thanks for the info.

I have heard that turning the key in the RPE can be challenging if you try to do it yourself - what do you think? My ortho said it's alot easier if somebody does it for you - he said some people use a mirror to guide him/her to turn the key.

Thanks again,

ssfw

pruettmj wrote:
I can't speak from personal experience, and I'm sure it's varies from person to person and for different ages, but I can tell you my 8 year old daughter's experience with the RPE so far.

She had it put in about 2 1/2 weeks ago. We turn the top (RPE) 1x per day and the bottom (Schwarz) 1x every other day. It's quite easy to do the turns; you have a wire key attached to a plastic handle. You just poke the wire in the hole and rotate toward the back of the mouth.

Until just 2 days ago, she had no pain at all, then just a bit on the bottom recently (I'm sure her age is a plus). 1 Advil took care of that.

She is supposed to go in every 4 weeks; not sure how long we continue to turn. I'll have to ask when she goes in next week. :Questions:

The first few hours she had difficulty dealing with her saliva, but got that under control quickly. Her speech was quite noticeable the 1st day, but now most people wouldn't even know she has orthodontics.

Sorry this is so long! :oops: I hope it helps!

_________________
Quad-Helix expander: 1/20/06 - 1/16/07
Upper braces: 5/19/06; lower braces: 9/7/06

Braces removed: 8/19/08
Received retainer: 8/26/08 - wearing retainer 24 hours/day

Next appt.: 11/18/08


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PostPosted: Sun Jan 08, 2006 6:55 pm 
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Joined: Sun Aug 28, 2005 8:47 am
Posts: 85
ssfw,

I'm not really sure of the reason why the quad goes on the uppers, bi on the lowers, but I've seen other people's pics on here and they have the same expanders. My bottom expander comes right up behind my lower teeth, while my upper expander is maybe half an inch back. I think they have a much wider area to begin with on the upper arch.

I sometimes get slipped up with my speech, like if I'm talking too fast. Sometimes words that end in -ds (like words, birds, etc) like -dtch (wordtch), but when I'm aware of what I'm doing I say them slowly and they sound normal (maybe a tad bit slow though).

They said my lower jaw was shorter than it should be but didn't recommend the surgery. Why did you decide against it? Find out how effective braces and expanders alone will be and approximately how much overjet will remain. How much improvement would you be happy with? They were kinda vague with my overall outcome due to my short lower jaw, but even if I have an overbite and overjet I'll be happy because my teeth will look so much better.

You could also post a question in the ask the doctor forum and see what they have to say about non-surgery and what your complications (overjet, etc.) are and how effective RPE or quadhelix would be.

Were you going to have both upper and lower expanders or just upper?

Jen

_________________
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Upper Braces & Both Expanders 9/14/05
Lower Braces 1/5/06
Estimated Treatment Time: 24-27 months


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PostPosted: Sun Jan 08, 2006 7:12 pm 
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Joined: Sat Nov 12, 2005 1:00 pm
Posts: 652
Hi Jen,

Thanks for the info.

I decided against the surgery because first, my medical insurance will not cover it and second I'm in my mid 40's and just did not want to go through surgery. My ortho said he wasn't sure if I would need lower braces - he will have to see how my bite is from the crossbite he will be correcting after wearing the upper braces for about 4 months. He told me he felt he could reduce my overjet from 5mm to 3mm. I was pleased with that. The other ortho in the office who treated me last week said if I got the lower braces the overjet could probably be reduced to 1.5 mm. I was told that standard overjet is 1 mm to 2 mm. I had told myself before this last appt. that even if minor corrections needed to be done on the lower jaw, I will get the braces. If I have the upper braces I can certainly get use to the lower braces - there will just be an additional charge if I get lower braces along with an additional 8 months making it about 20 months total of treatment time. My ortho said I just needed an upper expander. By the way, is any of the upper expander visible?

Thanks again for your help!

ssfw


JN_Woods wrote:
ssfw,

I'm not really sure of the reason why the quad goes on the uppers, bi on the lowers, but I've seen other people's pics on here and they have the same expanders. My bottom expander comes right up behind my lower teeth, while my upper expander is maybe half an inch back. I think they have a much wider area to begin with on the upper arch.

I sometimes get slipped up with my speech, like if I'm talking too fast. Sometimes words that end in -ds (like words, birds, etc) like -dtch (wordtch), but when I'm aware of what I'm doing I say them slowly and they sound normal (maybe a tad bit slow though).

They said my lower jaw was shorter than it should be but didn't recommend the surgery. Why did you decide against it? Find out how effective braces and expanders alone will be and approximately how much overjet will remain. How much improvement would you be happy with? They were kinda vague with my overall outcome due to my short lower jaw, but even if I have an overbite and overjet I'll be happy because my teeth will look so much better.

You could also post a question in the ask the doctor forum and see what they have to say about non-surgery and what your complications (overjet, etc.) are and how effective RPE or quadhelix would be.

Were you going to have both upper and lower expanders or just upper?

Jen

_________________
Quad-Helix expander: 1/20/06 - 1/16/07
Upper braces: 5/19/06; lower braces: 9/7/06

Braces removed: 8/19/08
Received retainer: 8/26/08 - wearing retainer 24 hours/day

Next appt.: 11/18/08


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PostPosted: Sun Jan 08, 2006 7:38 pm 
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Joined: Thu Dec 22, 2005 6:06 pm
Posts: 32
Location: Texas
SSFW -

It probably would be a bit awkward to turn the key yourself on the upper one because you'd really have to tilt your head back to see it in the mirror.
:idea: Maybe you could use a mirror laying on the counter; that might be easier.

My daughter's upper expander is not visible unless she tilts her head back. It's banded only on back teeth, and the wire parts are behind her teeth. It's all pretty well hidden. :D

Good luck!

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PostPosted: Sun Jan 08, 2006 7:58 pm 
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Posts: 652
Hi pruettmj,

Thanks for the info. - it was very helpful. I didn't want to ask another person to help me with the key for the expansion, which is why I chose the Quad Helix and because my ortho said the outcome would be the same no matter which expander I chose. Interesting that on websites about the expander with they key, it does not indicate this piece of info. I wonder why they have not thought of another way of expanding it?

ssfw

pruettmj wrote:
SSFW -

It probably would be a bit awkward to turn the key yourself on the upper one because you'd really have to tilt your head back to see it in the mirror.
:idea: Maybe you could use a mirror laying on the counter; that might be easier.

My daughter's upper expander is not visible unless she tilts her head back. It's banded only on back teeth, and the wire parts are behind her teeth. It's all pretty well hidden. :D

Good luck!

_________________
Quad-Helix expander: 1/20/06 - 1/16/07
Upper braces: 5/19/06; lower braces: 9/7/06

Braces removed: 8/19/08
Received retainer: 8/26/08 - wearing retainer 24 hours/day

Next appt.: 11/18/08


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