Common Orthodontic Appliances
There are many different types and purposes of orthodontic appliances. The two main purposes are to begin early treatment and to augment overall treatment time. Our goal is to not only straighten teeth, but to also create healthy growth and development in the jaws. Orthodontic appliances help us achieve that goal! Dr. Stan Cox will create a unique treatment plan for each specific case. Here are some of the common orthodontic appliances used at Brookhaven Orthodontics.
Expanders (Rapid Palatal Expander)
Expanders are orthodontic appliances that are most commonly used in younger patients. Often, these patients have a very narrow palate (or roof) in the mouth and we need to create more room for either teeth to erupt (come in) or for them to have space to shift. The widening of the upper and lower jaws will help avoid many orthodontic problems like a crossbite, crowding or impacted teeth.
Expanders are permanent appliances that stay in the mouth until the orthodontist removes them. The appliance contains a device that widens when turned with a key. Your orthodontist will give you instructions on how often and how much to turn the key. We will provide you with all materials you will need and will give guardians pointers to help with turning the key.
You could feel some discomfort and will need some time to get used to speaking with the device. However, an expander (sometimes called RPE for rapid palatal expander) can improve breathing and even shorten the overall treatment time in braces later on!
A Forsus spring appliance is also usually used with younger patients who are currently in braces (specifically with an overbite) as a way to shorten treatment time. The Forsus moves a patient’s upper molars backward while moving the lower jaw forward. This allows for optimal jaw growth during orthodontic treatment.
A Forsus spring is a fixed appliance that attaches to the brackets of braces. It consists is composed of a spring coil rod that connects the upper molar band to the lower arch wire of the braces. Your orthodontist will monitor the appliance and will remove it once you no longer need it. You may have some initial gum irritation, but you should quickly get used to the addition. Proper growth and shortened treatment time are worth it!
No extra effort is needed for the springs to work, but the patient will need to brush consistently and clean the appliance. It is also vital to avoid any foods that could potentially damage the appliance. Our team will give you a list of foods to stay away from.
The Herbst appliance is also suggested for younger, growing patients. This appliance is a growth modification so it works best during growth spurts in kids, usually around 9-14 years old. This appliance enhances lower jaw growth and moves the lower jaw forward. This will correct an overbite.
In the past, headgear was used for this same purpose. However, the Herbst is fixed (attached wire to wire) and works around the clock to correct the bite. Since headgear is removable and depends on patient compliance, this option is preferred by Dr. Cox. The smaller size of the Herbst makes it more comfortable and aesthetically appealing for patients.
This appliance will promote growth and movement on its own, but it is important that it is cleaned and that the patient avoids hard and sticky foods to keep it from breaking. Breaking an appliance can actually increase treatment time, so be sure to follow all instructions!