Types of Appliances
Lower Lingual Holding Arch
A lower lingual holding arch is sometimes necessary to hold space between the permanent molars and incisor teeth as the primary teeth are lost. Maintaining this space allows the permanent teeth to erupt and helps to reduce the need for extraction of teeth.
The most common habit corrector is a tongue crib. It is used to restrain the tongue from thrusting forward between the teeth and to hinder thumb sucking.
Elastics (Rubber Bands)
Elastics (rubber bands) help to improve the fit of the upper and lower teeth. They are a very important part of treatment and must be worn exactly as prescribed or treatment results will be compromised. Patient cooperation is essential for success.
Headgear (nightbrace) is used to treat patients whose teeth are in an "overbite" with the uppers forward of the lowers, or an "underbite" with the lowers forward of the uppers. Headgear gently "pulls" on the teeth to restrict further forward growth.
A palatal expander widens the upper jaw by applying gentle pressure. When the desired expansion is achieved, the appliance is worn for several months to solidify the expansion. Expanders can be removable or fixed depending on the patient's age.
Retainers may be removable or fixed. They hold or “retain” the teeth in their new, correct positions after the braces have been removed. It is very important that retainers be worn as directed to prevent relapse of treatment.
Separators or Spacers
Separators, though not used on a regular basis, are placed between the teeth to make room for fitting orthodontic bands at the next appointment. Separators look like small rubber doughnuts and are removed before the bands are placed.