Ladera Ranch, CA – Undergoing orthodontic treatment is very common, for patients of all ages. While braces are the most commonly thought of orthodontic appliance there are other tools and auxiliaries your orthodontist may need to use to achieve the ideal functioning bite. Drs. Reza Salmassian and Robert Gire of Ladera Orthodontics explain some of these appliances.
- Elastics or rubber bands are used in conjunction with braces to help guide the jaws and teeth to fit together properly. Rubber bands are used to help orthodontists correct underbites, overbites, and other misalignment issues. They can also help to manage spaces in the mouth.
- Biteplanes, build-ups or bite pillows, and bite turbos are used in patients who have deep bites or crossbites. Biteplanes are removable appliances and they are similar to a retainer. Build-ups, bite pillows, and bite turbos are fixed, meaning that they are not removable by the patient. They all help prevent the patient from biting down all the way to the back teeth thus assist in facilitating desirable movements.
- Palatal expanders are used to widen the upper jaw that is too narrow to adequately accommodate the teeth. It will place gentle pressure on the molars each time it is adjusted until the ideal expansion is reached. Palatal expanders can correct crossbites and create space when a patient presents with crowding.
- The Forsus appliance is a tool used to push the lower jaw forward and upper teeth back to allow the teeth to fit together properly. It is affixed to the braces/wires and a spring gently pushes the lower jaw and teeth to a more forward position. It can be used when patients do not adhere to the orthodontist’s directions for rubber band wear or it the movement is too great for just elastics alone.
- Headgear and Facemaks helps treat overjet (upper teeth sticking out) and underbites respectively by gently pulling on the teeth to restrict growth of the jaw to create a more ideally functioning bite. Headgear is typically used in patients with protruded front teeth that result in “buck teeth.” Headgear uses the back of the neck or head as an anchor point. Facemasks typically use the forehead and chin to help bring forward the upper teeth to fix underbites.
- Herbst appliances reduce overbites by pulling the lower jaw forward and the upper molars back, similarly to the Forsus appliance. It can be an alternative to headgear and can correct overjets without the need for extractions or surgery.
- Spacers or separators look like small rubber donuts. They are placed between teeth to push them apart slightly to allow for orthodontic bands to be placed.
These are several of the types of appliances you may see or hear about in an orthodontist’s office. If your orthodontist recommends the use of one of these it is important that the patient listens to proper care and wear and follows all directions as given by the orthodontist. This will keep the treatment on track to ensure efficiency. If you have questions about the type of appliance your orthodontist has recommended he or she should always be willing to discuss how and why this treatment option was chosen.
If you have any questions, please call us at 949-272-8782 for a complimentary consultation.