Expanders, plates and retainers
Orthodontics isn't just about braces and Invisalign. Often, we create metal or plastic appliances at our in-house laboratory. Appliances can be used at different points of treatment to achieve certain results. Appliances are often removable, or can be fixed.
During the mixed dentition (a mixture of baby and permanent teeth), sometimes it is preferable to have 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 patients will also require some form of appliance during their orthodontic treatment. This may be a clear silicone plate to wear to bed to prevent you grinding your teeth against the brackets, or headgear to with elastic wear.
Lip bumpers make more room in the lower arch. They hold the muscles of the lips and cheeks off the teeth and the teeth drift outwards. The ultra gentle movement allows bone to move with the teeth. Space gain means fewer tooth extractions.
Transpalatal arch can gain width and holds width gains from previous expansion plates. They Improve how the teeth meet and may reduce damage to teeth from grinding. There are guidelines that orthodontists use to evaluate quality, without transpalatal arches these quality objectives cannot be reached.
Also known as Headgear, or 'cat's whiskers', is a strap is placed around the back of the head and attached to a metal face bow in the front. Headgear is a growth modification strategy used to hold the upper jaw from growing forward whilst allowing the lower jaw to move forward, and is often used to help correct prominent upper teeth and reduce tooth extractions.
Removable expansion appliances can help open a very deep bite and widen the upper arch. Both these can help gain space which also reduces expansion.
Maxillary Expansion - Metal
Cemented expansion appliances are the most common appliance used by orthodontists to gain space in the upper arch. Widening the upper arch allows reduced extractions and increased dental display in the smile.
Maxillary Expansion - Acrylic
Acrylic appliances are often used for open bite correction. They use the same expansion technique as the metal expansion appliances, just with the added benefit of bite closing.