When people think of orthodontic treatment, they usually think of “braces.” Braces are an important part of treatment but not always the only part. We call the parts, “appliances,” and treatment may involve one or more of the appliances described below.
Fixed Appliances – anything that we glue or attach to your teeth that is not intended to be removed by you. Braces are in this category. Braces consist of the bands, brackets and archwires. Bands fit like a ring around the entire tooth and are usually put on back teeth. Brackets glue directly on the surface of the teeth and are usually put on the front teeth. Archwires attached to the bands and brackets provide the force to move the teeth.
Removable Appliances – anything intended to be removed by you. Retainers are usually removable. Cooperation is important because if you don’t wear them, they don’t work.
Functional Appliances – these devices are used in conjunction with braces during treatment to help modify the growth of jaws. They include Herbst appliances and headgear.
Rubber Bands (elastics) – these help move the teeth while wearing braces. They are attached to the braces by the patient, so cooperation is needed for them to be effective.
Retainers – these appliances help retain the teeth and jaws in the desired position after treatment. They are usually removable, but may be fixed. We recommend lifetime retention to maintain the best result.
Esthetic Appliances – most braces are metal and obvious when placed on the front surface of the teeth. Clear or tooth colored braces are less noticeable and braces may also be put on the inside of the teeth where they are not seen at all. Removable clear aligners may be used to treat some problems.
Forsus Appliance – this appliance is used when the lower jaw is set too far back. Attached to the back teeth, the Forsus is a combination of adjustable cylinders and pistons that pull the lower jaw into the desired position and allow it to catch up in growth with the upper jaw.
Palatal Expander - attached to the upper molars through bonding or by cemented bands, the Palatal Expander is an orthodontic device used to create a wider space in the upper jaw. It is typically used when the upper jaw is too narrow for the lower jaw or when the upper teeth are crowded or blocked out of the dental arch.
Facemask – A facemask or headgear is often used to correct an excessive overbite. The facemask places pressure against the upper teeth and jaw and helps move them into better positions. The severity of the problem determines the length of time a facemask needs to be worn.