Each patient is unique and has specific orthodontic requirements in order to achieve a perfectly straight smile. There is no one-size-fits-all solution for getting teeth into proper alignment. There are numerous orthodontic appliances, including braces, that are used in orthodontics. Braces provide the attachment for holding and moving the teeth. Full braces include bands that wrap around each molar and brackets that are bonded to the other teeth. In addition to braces, there are other appliances used to achieve the desired goals.
Types of Orthodontic Appliances
Overbites can be corrected using Distalizer appliances. Examples include Distal-Jet, Pendulum appliance and Carriere Distalizer. These appliances are used to push upper teeth backward to adjust an overbite. The Distalizer is also used to create space for teeth that are crowded.
- Temporary Anchorage Device
TADs and Miniplates are examples of temporary anchorage devices. TADs are used as an anchor. They are temporarily implanted to provide a stable force so the teeth can be moved. These devices are most often used with headgear.
- Forsus Appliance
This appliance is used to help bring upper teeth into alignment with the lower teeth. Essentially, the Forsus appliance works in the same way as rubber bands. Rubber bands are more comfortable; however, when their use is not optimal, the Forsus appliance may be used instead.
- Elastics (Rubber Bands)
Rubber bands are an important part of orthodontic devices. They improve the fit of your upper and lower teeth. You may be able to choose different colored rubber bands for a unique and colorful smile during treatment. Using them properly helps move the teeth efficiently.
- Herbst® Appliance
An overbite can be corrected with this device. The Herbst appliance moves the lower jaw forward while pushing the upper molars backward. This is a fixed appliance and is usually used with younger patients who are still growing and worn for 12-15 months.
- Palatal Expander
As the name implies, the palatal expander is used to widen or expand the upper jaw. Gentle pressure is used on the upper molars for each adjustment. You will receive instruction on when and how to adjust the expander. Once the ideal width has been reached, the appliance is worn for several months to set the expansion and prevent regression.
The positioner appliance is usually worn from four to eight weeks in the final stages of treatment to complete the final tooth movements. This custom made appliance is designed to move your teeth into the final position without braces. The orthodontist will give you instructions on when and how to wear your positioner. Full cooperation is needed to ensure optimal results.
After your teeth have migrated to their new positions, retainers are worn to keep them in place. These appliances can be removable or fixed. Your orthodontist will let you know how long you need to wear the retainer. You will also be given instructions on how to care for it. In order to prevent your newly straightened teeth from moving back out of position, it is imperative that you wear your retainer as instructed.
- Separators or Spacers
When placing bands on the molars for braces, there needs to be enough space between the teeth for the bands. Separators are little doughnut shaped rubber devices that gently push the teeth apart. Placement of these is one of the early steps in preparation for braces. Be sure to avoid sticky foods, toothpicks and flossing during this time to avoid dislodging the separators.
Used in treating overbite and underbite, headgear gently “pulls” on the teeth. This force restricts the forward growth of the upper teeth and jaw.
You will most likely have many questions about getting braces or other orthodontic appliances and processes. Schedule a consultation with Dr. Schatz, and bring all your questions. Contact us today to make your appointment.