Types of Appliances
Elastics (Rubber Bands)
Elastic (or rubber band) wear improves the fit of your upper and lower teeth when you bite together. Be sure to wear rubber bands as instructed, and remember that the rubber bands work far more efficiently if they're worn as prescribed.
This is an appliance that is attached to the upper permanent molars and the lower front braces. A spring on the appliace compresses when the patient bites, correcting the bite similar to rubber bands.
A Herbst appliance works with the growth of the jaw to help correct the alignment of the bite caused by a jaw imbalance. The under-developed lower jaw is positioned forward as the appliance encourages additional lower jaw growth while simultaneously restraining forward growth of the uppper jaw.
Palatal Expander (PSA)
A palatal expander helps to expand the upper jaw, also known as the palate. It is used to correct narrow palates, and/or gain space in the upper arch if there is extreme crowding. A turn is made to the screw mechanism one time a day, usually by a parent while at home. Turns normally last about 30 days.
This is a lightweight super elastic mouth guard which resembles a football mouthpiece. It is made from models of the most recent impressions of a patients mouth. When worn as directed, a positioner preforms minor tooth movements and is sometimes recommended at the end of treatment with braces to "fine tune" the final position of teeth.
Retainers may be removable or fixed. They hold teeth in their new, correct positions after your teeth have been straightened. In our office, removable retainers are worn day and night for 1 week, then "night time for lifetime." Wearing your retainers as directed is crucial to prevent teeth from moving back to their original positions.
Separators or Spacers
Separators are little rubber "doughnuts" that may be placed between your teeth to push them apart so that orthodontic bands may be placed during your next appointment. The separators will be removed before we place the bands. Separators do not mix well with sticky foods, toothpicks, or floss.
A bite plane appliance is worn on the roof of the mouth and has thick ledge of plastic which fits behind the upper front teeth. It is used by the patient for short periods of time during which a grinding habit takes place or is worn full time to correct a deepbite. Some retainers include a bite plane for pateints that began their treatment with a deep overbite. This helps to prevent the deep overbite from reoccuring.
Band and Loop Space Maintainer
When a baby tooth is lost prematurely, a space maintainer is usually indicated. The Band and Loop appliance is made when this happens on one side of the mouth to hold space for the eruption of the permanent tooth.
Bite turbos are two plastic "braces" that are attached/bonded to the back of the two upper front teeth and resemble a plastic shelf. They help to correct a deep overbite, which is the vertical overlapping of the top and bottom front teeth. They also help to prevent the patient from biting on their lower braces if there is little clearance.
A finger spring is an appliance that is placed behind both upper and/or lower front teeth to move them forward towards the lips. It is used in underbite or crossbite situations. The small spring is either attached to a larger "U" shaped wire that attaches to the back molars, or is embedded in a plastic retainer to do the same thing.
Distal Jet Appliance
The Distal Jet appliance is attached to both the upper or lower back molars and premolars. It helps to move the upper or lower back molars further back and into the proper relationship with the opposing teeth. In this manner, space is increased usually for a side tooth that is blocked out or has little space to grow into its normal position.
Gate or Crib
The gate or crib appliance is attached to the upper permanent molars and acts as a deterrent for a patient who has a thumb sucking and/or tongue thrusting habit. Once the appliance is placed, the thumb is physically unable to fit into the mouth so the patient is therefore unable to continue the habit. At the same time, the tongue is guided away from the front teeth and towards the roof of the mouth, which is it's ideal position.
A hayes-nance button is made of plastic attached to a metal bar which is attached to the upper back permanent molar teeth. It prevents the upper back molars from moving forward while waiting for the eruption of the permanent premolar teeth.
Lower Lingual Holding Arch
This is a passive appliance which is cemented to the lower permanent molar teeth and prevents the back molars from moving forward. If placed prior to the lower second baby molars falling out, the holding arch allows us to gain space by taking advantage of the fact that these two baby teeth are actually wider than the adult teeth that will replace them.
This is an appliance which is attached to the upper back and side teeth with a plastic pad and built-in springs on the roof of the mouth. A screw is embedded within the plastic which is turned to expand the width of the palate. Once completed, the back springs are activated to push the molar teeth further back. The Pendulum is used to correct narrow palates and to gain space for submerged upper teeth that need more space.
Protraction Headgear (Face Mask)
This is a removable appliance that rests on the chin and forehead and is attached with elastics to an appliance atached to the teeth (usually an upper expander). It helps to correct a front crossbite or underbite of the front teeth.
A metal bar is attached to the upper back permanent molars, and a movable bead is placed on this bar behind the upper front teeth. This appliance is used to help control a tongue thrust habit. The bead is positioned at the roof of the mouth where the tongue should naturally be resting and positioned upon swallowing. Patients are then asked to excercise the tongue by spinning the bead.
Temporary Anchorage Devices (TAD's)
TAD's are biocompatible titanium miniscrew anchors which are attached to the outside layer of jawbone. In order to move, teeth need specific forces in a specicfic direction. When existing teeth are not able to adequately provide this direction, TAD's are temporarily placed. They are routinely removed after orthodontic treatment is complete.
Temporomandibular (TMJ) Splint
A TMJ splint is used to temporarily eliminate a bite disharmony and resulting joint noises and/or pain. When worn as directed (usually fulltime) the appliance will position the jaw joints in a more favorable alignment, thereby relieving joint stresses which contribute to noises and pains.