Types of Appliances
To successfully complete the orthodontic treatment plan, patients must work together with the orthodontist. The teeth and jaws can only move toward their corrected positions if the patient consistently wears the elastics (rubber bands), headgear, or other appliances as prescribed.
The following paragraphs describe the types of appliances that may be used during your treatment.
Elastics (Rubber Bands)
Wearing elastics (rubber bands) improves the fit of your upper and lower teeth together (‘the bite’). Wear rubber bands as instructed and remember that the rubber bands work far more efficiently if they’re worn as prescribed.
Headgear is used to treat patients whose teeth are in an “overbite”, with the uppers forward of the lowers, or an “underbite” with the lowers forward of the uppers. Headgear gently “pulls” on your teeth to encourage normal growth of your upper or lower teeth and jaw.
This Herbst appliance reduces overbite by encouraging the lower jaw to grow forward and the upper molars to move backward. This fixed appliance is used mostly for younger children and is worn for about 12-15 months.
The palatal expander “expands” (widens) your upper jaw by putting gentle pressure on your upper molars each time an adjustment is made. Your orthodontist will instruct you about when and how to adjust your expander. When you achieve the desired expansion, you will wear the appliance for 4 to 6 months longer to solidify the expansion and to prevent regression.
Retainers may be removable or fixed. They hold your teeth in their new, correct positions after your teeth have been straightened. Your orthodontist
will instruct you on how to care for your retainer and about the duration of the wear. Wearing your retainer as directed is crucial to prevent relapse of your treatment.
Click here for more information on how to care for your retainer.
Separators or Spacers
Separators are little rubber bands 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 placement of the bands. Separators do not mix well with sticky foods, toothpicks, or floss.