Besides braces, your dentist may recommend that you or your child get an orthodontic appliance. When you think of an appliance, you may think of a stove, microwave, refrigerator or even a toaster. However, appliances are much different in the dental field.
An orthodontic appliance will help treat an oral health condition, such as crooked or crowded teeth, jaw issues and even snoring. Retainers are the most common type of appliance, but there are others that your dentist may recommend.
These appliances fall into three categories: removable, fixed and removable-fixed. One thing that they all have in common is that they are custom-made to fit your mouth. Your dentist will accomplish this by taking impressions and X-rays. These are then sent to a lab to create your appliance.
Galleria Dental can assess you or your child’s oral health and determine the best course of action. Contact us for a free consultation.
Types of Appliances
Here are some of the most common orthodontic appliances your dentist may recommend to fix your oral health issues:
- Retainers. Retainers are the most common appliance used. They are typically removable, but in some cases, they may be fixed. They hold the teeth in position after they have been straightened by braces. Without retainers, your teeth may regress and go back to their original position. Many people wear retainers full time, while others just wear them at night. Your orthodontist will instruct you on how long and when to wear your retainers.
- Rubber bands. These are also called elastics and are used to force the teeth and jaws into the desired position. They attach to braces via hooks on brackets. They are worn between the upper and lower teeth to create better alignment between the upper and lower teeth. Many kids like rubber bands because they can customize them and choose different colors. They can wear their favorite colors or decorate them for the holidays, such as red and green for Christmas.
- Temporary anchorage devices (TADs). TADs are becoming more common in orthodontics. These consist of mini-screws ranging from 6 to 12 millimeters in length. TADs allow dentists to control the alignment of your teeth more effectively. They may be temporarily fixed inside the mouth to apply force to the teeth.
- Separators. Also known as spacers, separators look like little rubber doughnuts. They are placed between the teeth to push them apart so that the orthodontist has room to place bands between the teeth.
- Headgear. Headgear is used to treat those with alignment issues such as overbite or underbite. It consists of various parts. The facebow is an inner metal part that goes inside the mouth. It then attaches to buccal tubes, which attach to an outer part that goes around the outside of the face. This part is then connected to a headgear strap. Headgear is very unsightly looking and may only be worn at night. Headgear works by pulling on the teeth gently. This force keeps the upper teeth and jaw from growing forward and causing further alignment issues.
- Twin block. This appliance actually involves two separate appliances – one for each arch. The twin blocks work together to create an advanced lower jaw position. It is worn full time, even while eating, but it is removable so you can easily clean it. It is made out of smooth acrylic and does not use as many wires as other appliances, so it is more comfortable. A twin block appliance can help improve jaw function and profile, as well as keep your temporomandibular joint healthy and stable.
What Appliance Will I Need?
No two mouths are the same. Therefore, your orthodontist will thoroughly assess your mouth and choose the right appliance for you based on your specific oral health issues. Some people simply need braces. Some may need a retainer after they are done with braces. Others may need more major work, such as surgery.
Your orthodontist will conduct an exam, take photos of your face and teeth, take digital scans of your teeth and then take X-rays of your mouth and head. They will then create an appropriate treatment plan is made based on this information.
Speak with our orthodontic team to learn more.
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