Types of Appliances
To successfully complete your treatment plan takes team effort between your orthodontist and you! The teeth and jaws can only move toward their corrected positions if you consistently wear the elastic 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. Wear rubber bands as instructed because the rubber bands work far more efficiently if they are worn as prescribed.
These accomplish a similar movement as rubber bands, but have the advantage that they are in all the time and are only removed by the orthodontist. They push with a spring to move the bottom teeth forward and the upper teeth back to reduce an overbite. In most cases, they are worn for about 4-6 months.
This Herbst appliance reduces overbite by encouraging the lower jaw forward and the upper molars backward. This fixed appliance is used mostly for younger, growing 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 several months 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 regression of your treatment.
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 or with toothpicks and floss.