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.
- Space Maintainer: Used when baby teeth are lost early, to hold space for the developing adult teeth.
- Palatal Expander: Designed to widen your upper jaw, a palatal expander applies outward pressure on your upper molars to slowly expand your palate.
- Separators (Spacers): Separators are rubber rings that are inserted between back teeth before you have braces, providing space for your braces to be placed. If a separator comes out, call our office to see if you need a replacement. Do not chew sticky foods with or floss teeth that have separators between them.
- Elastics (Rubber Bands): Rubber bands are used with fixed braces and Invisalign. They must be worn at all times and changed daily per our instructions.
- Headgear: For a severe overjet or underbite, headgear is sometimes used to continuously pull on your teeth and jaws, restricting further unfavorable growth.
Care of Appliances
As with retainers, all orthodontic appliances should be worn as prescribed. They should be cleaned with toothpaste once a day, and if removed for eating or sports, they should be placed in their container, never in a pocket or napkin where they may be broken or thrown away.
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.