What's in my mouth? A brief explanation of orthodontic appliances

Irvine, CA - Navigating the world of orthodontics can be confusing for patients. There are so many different appliances that it can be hard to understand what exactly is in your mouth.

Dr. Sophia Updike explains the most common types of appliances used in orthodontics.

  1. Palatal Expander

    These work to correct jaw discrepancies. A palatal expander works to widen the jaw. The patient will activate it by turning a key, and the expander will then work to place a gentle pressure on the upper molars, thereby expanding the jaw.

  2. Forsus Springs

    For patients with severe overbites, Forsus Springs can help. They work in the same way regular elastics work, but are used for patients with very serious overbites or patients who may not wear their elastics as prescribed by the orthodontist. Forsus Springs are placed in the mouth by the orthodontist, and cannot be removed by the patient.

  3. Elastics

    These tiny rubber bands help an orthodontist correct a bite issue. Braces work to straighten the teeth, but sometimes we also need to improve the bite. Elastics are connected from a bracket on the top to a bracket on the bottom to help guide the jaw to its desired location.

  4. Headgear

    Headgear is prescribed for patients who have discrepancies in jaw growth, and have a bad bite as the result. Headgear will utilize the back of the neck as an anchor point for correcting the patient’s bite.

  5. Space Maintainers

    If a patient loses a baby tooth too early, or has to have one removed for some reason, a space maintainer will be used to preserve the space for the permanent teeth when it is ready to erupt.

  6. Separators

    These small rings fit between teeth to allow room for orthodontic bands to be placed.

  7. Williams Appliance

    This fixed appliance works to widen the lower arch, while primary teeth are still in place. The Williams Appliance works well to improve overcrowding issues.

  8. Carriere Appliance

    For patients who don’t want to remove permanent teeth that have erupted improperly, a Carriere Appliance can be used. Similar to headgear, it will push the upper teeth back, correcting the bite before braces are used to straighten the smile.

  9. Braces

    Braces work to improve a patient’s smile by straightening the teeth, and correcting abnormal bites. There are many varieties, ranging from traditional metal braces, to clear or ceramic, to lingual, and to Invisalign.

  10. Retainers

    Once a patient has their braces removed, a retainer will be used to ensure the teeth remain in their new locations. Retainers can be fixed, meaning they are made to stay in place on their own, or removable, allowing the patient to remove it when eating, drinking, brushing and flossing.

These are some of the most commonly used appliances in orthodontic offices.

To ensure you get the most ideal smile, your orthodontist may recommend one or more of these. If you are interested in learning more about how orthodontics can improve your smile and bite, call Updike Orthodontics today at  (949) 870-9713.

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