Orthodontics isn't just about braces and Invisalign. Often, we create metal or acrylic appliances at our in-house lab which can be used for different reasons at different points of treatment. Sometimes they are removable, other times they are fixed in place for a period of time.
Sometimes it is necessary to undergo a 'first phase' of treatment, for children and young teenagers. This is normally to expand the arches, gain space, modify skeletal growth, correct cross bites and open deep bites. This may be the only treatment some patients need if their concerns are only mild.
Most orthodontic patients will also use some form of appliance during their braces treatment. This may be a clear silicone plate to wear to bed to prevent you grinding your teeth against the brackets, or it may be headgear to help the elastics do their job.
Braces off? Orthodontic treatment is not over! We continue to use appliances to hold your teeth in place, once braces or Invisalign is complete. These include fixed wires and removable retainers.
The lip bumper appliance is used to push the lower lip slightly outwards, so it is not resting against the teeth. When the lip is not there to restrain the teeth, teeth will drift outwards, which in turn makes space and reduces crowding.
The nance appliance is used to hold teeth in position to allow for the movement of other teeth. It prevents the upper molars from rotating or moving forward while we close upper arch space.
Gradual expansion appliances are metal plates which are able to use gentle but constant force to push outwards, expanding the arch. These are best suited for children too young for other expansion methods.
Removable expansion appliances, or expansion bite planes, use the same key and screw mechanism to gain expansion as a rapid expansion appliance. The plate is made from acrylic which is thicker where the teeth meet, designed to open deep bites.
Rapid expansion appliances are plates made from metal or resin which are fitted for a period of 3 - 6 months, and require patient and parent assistance in turning a key which expands the plate, and in turn the mouth.
Extraoral traction appliance, known as headgear, is a strap is placed around the back of the head and attached to a metal wire in front, or face bow. Headgear slows the growth of the upper jaw, and holds the back teeth where they are while the front teeth are pulled back.
A space maintainer is used if a baby tooth is lost prematurely, to keep the space open until the permanent tooth erupts. A band is attached to the tooth next to the empty space, and a wire is extended to the tooth on the other side of the space.
Jasper Jumpers, or Forsus, are affixed to brackets on the teeth. There are springs mounted on the side of the appliance, which force the lower jaw forward upon closure of the jaws, retraining the bite to sit correctly.
Mouthguards are extremely important whilst going through orthodontics. We never want your braces to impact your life negatively, so we still encourage playing sports, but safety is important as your mouth is more compromised with braces.
Fixed retention is a small wire bar, bent specifically to sit flush against the back of your 6 front teeth. This is bonded to the teeth using composite resin and holds the teeth straight for many years to come.
Removable retainers are clear, plastic retainers that are worn during sleep to keep the teeth in place. These retainers are especially suited for those who have had teeth removed during orthodontic treatment, to hold spaces closed.