Can You Guys Give Me Some Foods That Can Be Eaten with an Orthodontic Expander?

Updated on July 05, 2019
A.J. asks from Broomfield, CO
10 answers

My daughter 7, just got an orthodontic palate expander. She can not talk, eat, or swallow normally. She is a picky eater, and I cannot find foods that she will eat. She is eating yogurt for all 3 meals. Any ideas?
Thanks, A.

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answers from San Francisco on

For the first 3 or 4 days we did a lot of fruit smoothies and soup. By the end of the week she was eating normally again.

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answers from Washington DC on

ish. poor kid, and poor you. the adjustment period for these is generally painful.

i can't imagine that you DON'T know soft foods. oatmeal, smoothies, pasta, mashed vegetables of all sorts. if she's too picky to eat them, then it's probably past time to get her familiar with preparing her own foods. 7 is young, but not too young for simple food prep.

what you don't want to do is flail about frantically trying to accommodate a picky customer. offer a few sensible soft variations, and beyond that help her figure out what she wants to prepare for herself.


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answers from Abilene on

Soft scrambled eggs with cheese was one of my daughter’s favorites post expander insertion and any time her braces were adjusted. Mashed potatoes, chopped fine chicken, soup, smoothies, milkshakes.

I’ll tell you what NOT to give her is long noodles. Mine almost choked. Fettuccine Alfredo is one of her favorites so I made it for her and it was bad. The noodles lodged in the expander.

Within about 5 days she was back to normal. One of the things that helped my daughter’s speech return to normal quickly was I had her read out loud to me. I know that probably sounds silly, but our first inclination is to not talk when we’re having speech difficulties when practicing is really the best way to figure out her new normal.

Good luck! It won’t last a long time.

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answers from New York on

Fruit smoothies worked for us in the beginning phase. The uncomfortable feeling of the expander wore off in about 2-3 days. She decided to take in more food options after that (like plain pasta) instead of staying hungry. The more I accommodated her pickiness, the more picky she became. So I stopped the power struggle and just offered what we had (with a few of her favorite foods lol) and left it at that. If you’re worried about her getting a well rounded diet, have her take a multi vitamin and keep providing a variety of foods. It will pass, hang in there!

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answers from Boston on

It takes a week or so to get used to it. I remember when my son got his, he went through the alphabet out loud and found that G, Q and X were impossible to say. Right after it's inserted, everything is sore, and then sometimes after each expansion it's a little bit uncomfortable but they get used to that.

I'd get her off all that yogurt. Try pasta (well cooked) and sauce, eggs in various forms, peanut butter (on a spoon if she won't use soft bread), mashed potatoes, soups, bananas, watermelon and smoothies with other fruits/veggies in them (she doesn't need to see you make them). I put thawed frozen spinach in pasta sauce, and all kinds of things in shakes. I used a really good protein supplement that also helped the immune system and it was the best discovery ever.

I'd also stop waiting on her if she's picky. Serve the foods you feel are balanced, and she can eat them or else ignore them and fix her own. Don't become a short order cook or this will go on forever. She will not starve. A 7 year old can make a sandwich or heat soup in the microwave or scramble an egg. Have her help you make family meals to start - she can help prepare even if she doesn't think she'll be eating things, you know? She'll gain some life skills and some confidence in the kitchen, and you'll be able to assess her abilities and her adherence to safety rules., If, after all that, she wants to do a second round and prepare food for herself, fine. I'll bet she'll start eating more if you take the middle road between battling her and enabling her. It worked for us.

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answers from Springfield on

I think you just have to give her time. My son has had his expander for about 3 months. He also ate a lot of yogurt at first and was afraid of eating pizza (one of his favorite foods). I just tried to let him figure things out and eat what he wanted, within reason. I was really surprised the day he asked for pizza, but I knew that was a great sign.

I just asked him what is easiest to eat, and he said, "Um, I don't know." I think he said that because he now pretty much eats all the same foods he used to eat. You might want to try some applesauce or canned fruits or veggies (since they tend to be the softest). But really just give her some time to get used to it and figure things out.

I do remember my son having trouble swallowing. There were a couple of times the first week that he put a paper towel in his mouth to soak up the saliva because he hadn't figure out how to swallow it yet. (Yuck!) But, like I said, he's doing just fine now.

It's so hard to see our kids struggle, but she will learn from this experience!

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answers from Portland on

When my kid first got braces, or had throat surgery he had applesauce, smoothies (very finely blended), jello, puddings, soups, ice cream, popsicles, then later some mushy noodles etc.

I don't think you worry about it too much to start and then it gets easier - our doctor and orthodontist gave us a list of suggestions that was very helpful when we had it done. I wonder if they could give you a list specific to that device?

Hopefully it will get easier over time and worst comes to worst, you could get her some Boost or Ensure (one of those supplemental drinks) if you're concerned about nutrients.

Good luck :)

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answers from Norfolk on

She'll adjust in a few days to a week.
Any soft food should be fine.
Scrambled eggs, mashed potatoes, soup, cream of wheat, oatmeal, smoothies (not too thick), ice cream, popsicles, mac n cheese, yogurt for a few days is fine too.

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answers from Des Moines on

We make fruit smoothies with yogurt and milk. That might be a variation on some of the food she likes. Soups like cream of mushroom or tomato might be good too. Oatmeal is a good old fashioned standard as well and can be fortified with milk. Sounds funny, but baby food might be a quick solution every now and then to get some healthy nutrition.

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answers from Miami on

Soft foods like soups, rice, pasta, mashed potatoes, etc., fish, we also would cut things like chicken into very small pieces. My daughter had an expander for over a year and was able to eat fine (as in, everything) not long after getting it (maybe a couple of days after). A favorite of hers was the broccoli cheddar soup from Panera.

Here are some articles with suggestions:

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