Orthodontic Appliances

Improving your smile

Headgear

Headgear is often used to correct an excessive overbite. This is done by placing pressure against the upper teeth and jaw, which would hold the teeth in position or help move them into better positions. The severity of the problem determines the length of time headgear will need to be worn. The key to success with your headgear appliance is consistency. Headgear must be worn a certain number of hours per day, and if not, it must be made up the following day.

Headgear should never be worn while playing sports and should also be removed while eating and brushing your teeth. Sometimes your chin may get irritated from the headgear. If this happens, you should always keep the area clean and change the insert in the chin cup often. If the skin becomes very dry, the use of moisturizing cream twice a day can be helpful. If your jaw joints are extremely sore or you cannot open and close your mouth without difficulty, stop wearing the appliance and contact us for further instructions. If your headgear breaks or is bent, call us so we can fit you in for a repair appointment so that your treatment will not be delayed.

Reverse Headgear

In some cases where an under-bite is present, we may recommend using reverse headgear as part of the treatment plan. This appliance is designed to fix the discrepancy between your upper and lower jaws by moving the upper jaw forward to correct the malocclusion.

For the results to be successful, patient compliance is very important. It may take several days to become accustomed to the appliance. With practice, it will become easier to place and remove your reverse headgear. We will determine the length of time you should wear your headgear, but it is generally 10-14 hours per day, which can include wearing while you sleep. Headgear should never be worn while playing sports and should also be removed while eating and brushing your teeth.

Sometimes your chin may get irritated from the headgear. If this happens, you should always keep the area clean and change the insert in the chin cup often. If the skin becomes very dry, the use of moisturizing cream twice a day can be helpful. If your jaw joints are extremely sore or you cannot open and close your mouth without difficulty, stop wearing the appliance and contact us for further instructions. If your headgear breaks or is bent, call us so we can fit you in for a repair appointment so that your treatment will not be delayed.

Rapid Palatal Expander

The Rapid Palatal Expander is a device used to create a wider space in the upper jaw, and it is attached to the upper molars through bonding or by cemented bands. 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.

When patients are still growing, their connective tissue between the left and right laves of their upper jaw is very responsive to expansion. By simply activating the expander through turning a small screw in the center with a special key, gradual pressure is placed on the left and right halves of the upper jaw. This pressure causes an increased amount of bone to grow between the left and right halves of the jaw, ultimately resulting in an increased width.

Herbst

One of the most common problems orthodontists treat is the discrepancy that occurs when the upper teeth protrude beyond the lower. Ordinarily, when we see a patient with the upper teeth protruding, we tend to think the upper jaw and teeth are too far forward, but more often than not, this condition is due to a small lower jaw that is further back than it should be. With these patients, we would like to encourage the lower jaw to catch up in growth, and the Herbst appliance will help this happen.

Even though the Herbst appliance prevents the lower jaw from moving backward, opening and closing movements still occur easily, and patients do not have any problems learning to chew their food with their lower jaw in this new position.

As with all kinds of braces, patients with Herbst appliances need to be careful about what they eat. For instance, cold foods such as ice slushes, popsicles and ice will freeze the cement and make the brace loosen. Sticky foods such as caramels, bubble gum and candy suckers will pull the brace away from the teeth. Hard foods like crisp vegetables and hard candies will bend and loosen the Herbst appliance. Please stay away from these foods during your orthodontic treatment.

Your Herbst appliance will be checked and adjusted at your appointments. If you develop some sore areas on the inside of your cheeks between appointments, call our office for an appointment so we can make the necessary adjustments. Do not try to adjust the appliance yourself.

When you first get your Herbst appliance, your mouth will feel unusually full and speaking will be awkward. If you practice reading aloud, your ordinary speech will return quickly. You may also notice more saliva than normal, this will decrease as you become used to the appliance.

Retainers

When we remove your braces, we will begin the retention stage of your treatment. The retention phase lasts for a minimum of 24 months. Your final orthodontic result depends on your retainers, so be sure to follow through with the hard work you’ve put in so far. Remember to remove your retainer before brushing and brush your retainer before placing it back in your mouth.

Traditional Ceramic Braces

Ceramic braces are made of a translucent (clear) material. They are popular with adult patients due to their cosmetic appeal. The only drawbacks to ceramic brackets are that they are more fragile, and if you opt for clear elastic ties, they can become discolored between orthodontic visits.

Traditional Silver Braces

Silver metal braces are the most common. The brackets are made of a high grade stainless steel. Today’s braces are smaller than they used to be, and more comfortable and attractive.

Traditional Gold Braces

Gold braces are stainless steel brackets that have been coated with 24-karat gold and are popular with patients of all ages.