Common orthodontic appliances
What are the most common orthodontic appliances?
Elastics, or rubber bands, are frequently used to help support the proper alignment of your teeth or jaw. While your braces are affixed to the front of your teeth, elastics will attach to the brackets on your braces and will help align your bite. Your Orthodontist will instruct you on which brackets to attach your elastics to and for how long you should wear them, which could range from a few weeks to a few months. In most cases, it’s best to wear them 24 hours a day - removing your elastics only to eat and brush your teeth, after which, you’ll replace them with a new set.
The palatal expander “expands” (or widens) your upper jaw by putting gentle pressure on your upper molars each time an adjustment is made. Your orthodontist will instruct you about when and how to adjust your expander. When you achieve the desired expansion, you will wear the appliance for several months to solidify the expansion and to prevent regression.
Positioners complete the final tooth movements in your orthodontic treatment. With your full cooperation, you should only need to wear the positioner appliance for 4-8 weeks.
Separators are little rubber doughnuts that may be placed between your teeth to push them apart so that orthodontic bands may be placed during your next appointment. The separators will be removed before we place the bands. Separators do not mix well with sticky foods, toothpicks, or floss.
In some cases, you may have early loss of baby teeth or your teeth may be tipping, causing undesired spacing, or require an extraction. To help correct this and encourage the proper alignment over time, your Orthodontist may use a lingual arch. This is thin, stainless steel device that connects from one molar to the other and sits behind your teeth along the gum to support an ideal alignment. It’s virtually undetectable and acts like a bit of a retainer for a short amount of time.
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