Types of Appliances
Elastics (Rubber Bands)
Elastics, or rubber bands, help improve how your teeth fit together. Rubber bands align your bite and are very important for the bite-fixing phase of your treatment, making sure spaces are closing in the right direction. they are simple, small rubber bands that attach to the hooks on your braces. You will be given direction on which way to hook the bands becasue if placed incorrectly it can move your teeth in the wrong direction. Depending on your situation, you may have to wear them 24 hours. We urge you to keep them in for as long as you’re told, not only to make sure the teeth are moving in the right direction but also so you don’t lengthen your treatment.
Separators or Spacers
Spacers are usually rubber bands that are placed between your teeth if your back teeth are too close together. Placing spacers allow your teeth to shift just enough so molar bands can be placed before the braces application. They can cause pain because of the constant pressure on your gums and teeth, but you usually only have to keep them in for one to two weeks. Be cautious of sticky food and gum as these can pull the spacers out, and make sure not to try and floss in the areas they’re placed.
Palatal Expanders create more space in a child’s mouth by gradually widening the upper jaw so the teeth will fit together better. Since the upper jaw develops as two separate halves that don’t fuse together completely until after puberty, we are able to use this appliance to prevents, reduce, or correct the severity of some jaw and teeth problems. We will create a custom expander to fit over several of your back teeth, that is a two part piece connected by a screw. You will use a ket given to you to turn this screw a little every week, which expands the jaw gradually.
Positioners resembles a mouth guard and is used at the end of your treatment to finalize the movement of your teeth. It is worn at night time and at least a few hours during the day. while you wear it during the day, you should be doing clenching exercises where you clench your teeth for 20 seconds and release. Continue to do this while you wear it because this is what helps move your teeth. Make sure to brush it 2-3 times a day.
Hurray! Your braces are off! Retainers are now worn to keep your teeth in their corrected position until your bones and your gums acclimated to their changes. There are two types of retainers: fixed and removable. Fixed retainers are essentially a wire worn and bonded across the back of your upper and lower front teeth. Removable retainers are custom to fit your teeth, consisting of a wire going across the front of the upper and lower front teeth which is held in place with an acrylic mold and hooks that fit around the back teeth to keep it in place. You must wear your retainers at all times except for eating and brushing your teeth, and depending on your case you may need to use it indefinitely so your teeth don’t shift. Make sure to brush 2-3 times a day.