Appliances are used during various stages of the orthodontic process, either to retain the new position of teeth, or in some cases to influence the growth of the jaws for a better bite alignment. Appliances may be fixed or removable.
Types of Appliances
- Retainers: Used after braces are removed to hold teeth in their new positions. You must wear your retainer as prescribed to prevent regression of your treatment.
- Palatal Expander: Designed to widen your upper jaw, a palatal expander applies outward pressure on your upper molars to slowly expand your palate.
- Spacers (Separators): Spacers are plastic rings that are inserted between your back teeth before you have braces, providing space for bands, which are metal rings that go on your back teeth. If a spacer comes out, call our office to see if you need a replacement. Do not chew sticky foods and do not floss teeth that have spacers between them.
- Elastics (Rubber Bands): Rubber bands are used with fixed metal/ceramic braces. They must be worn as directed and changed per our instructions.
- Headgear: For severe dental protrusion or retrusion, headgear is sometimes used to restrict or enhance growth of the upper jaw, depending on the type of headgear used. It can also move teeth forward or backward.
- Forsus: Forsus are springs used to move the upper dental arch backward and the lower dental arch forward, for a combined tooth movement. They are fixed in the mouth, which eliminates compliance, and are usually given if headgear and/or elastics are not being worn as directed.
- Positioners: Designed to complete the final necessary tooth movements, positioners are usually the last step in the orthodontic process and are not used in all cases.
Care of Appliances
As with retainers, all orthodontic appliances should be worn and cared for as prescribed.
Pain and Soreness
It is normal for new or recently adjusted appliances to cause soreness or a slight alteration of speech for a few days following your appointment. If you experience a sore spot on the gums, however, please call our office so that we can make an appropriate adjustment.