Types of Appliances
Elastics (Rubber Bands)
Elastics (also called rubber bands) work alongside the brackets and wires of braces to help guide the teeth into their appropriate locations. They help apply additional pressure to the teeth and guide the patient’s bite into place, which give our patients their beautiful new smiles. Elastics aren’t always needed, however, they are commonly used in patients that have jaw alignment issues. Dr. Dean will create your treatment plan and decide whether or not to use elastics.
The Forsus Fatigue Resistant Device has long been used to help patients struggling with an overbite issue. The device works by helping guide the top teeth backwards, and the bottom teeth forwards. With early intervention, the Forsus device can possibly even prevent the need for jaw surgery in some cases.
Headgear is an appliance used in patients who have jaw alignment issues, such as an overbite. Unlike other forms of treatment, headgear is partially worn outside the mouth, which helps the process of guiding the jaw into place. There are different types of headgear, including cervical pull, high pull, and reverse pull. Dr. Dean will determine the best course of treatment if headgear is required.
The MARA appliance is another method used to reduce overbites in patients, by helping to align the jaw into the appropriate position. This appliance works by guiding the jaw forward over the course of about 12 to 15 months. The MARA appliance is usually used in younger patients whose jaws are still growing, and like other appliances, can possibly prevent surgery. There are various appliances (like a Herbst appliance) that help fix bite discrepancies. We’ve found the MARA to be the most patient-friendly.
Palatal expanders are commonly used in orthodontics. The device, placed near the roof of the mouth and connected to teeth, works to widen the upper jaw. Palatal expanders help the upper and lower jaws align properly, and are usually used in younger patients. Treatment time with an expander varies, with patients usually wearing them for about 9 months. Dr. Dean will instruct you on proper use of the device, including when and how to adjust it. After the desired expansion is achieved, you will still wear the expander for several months after, to solidify the expansion.
Positioners are used at the end of orthodontic treatment to help prevent relapse or regression of the treatment. Positioners aren’t worn for a lengthy period of time, only about four to eight weeks. Positioners are generally clear in color and can be put in and taken out as instructed.
After your teeth have been straightened, retainers are used to maintain the teeth alignment. They can be removable or fixed in the mouth, and are a crucial step in preventing regression of treatment. We will instruct you on how to care for your retainer and the duration of wear. Some patients need to wear their retainers for several months, while others must use them indefinitely. Dr. Dean will determine the best course of action for you!
Separators or Spacers
Separators, or spacers, are small rings which help separate teeth slightly so that orthodontic bands may be placed. Spacers are commonly used in patients receiving traditional metal braces, and are usually kept on for a couple of weeks. They are removed after a short period so that orthodontic bands can be placed. It is important not to eat sticky foods or use toothpicks or floss while separators are on, as they may cause the separators to dislodge.