Types of Appliances
RAPID PALATAL EXPANDER (RPE)
A Rapid Palatal Expander is used when the upper jaw is too narrow for the lower jaw or when the upper teeth are too crowded. It expands the upper jaw and creates more space.
The expander is cemented to the upper molars and fits along the top of the mouth. When a patient is young and growing, the tissue between the right and left sides of their upper jaw is flexible and easy to move and adjust. An expander places gentle pressure outward on the right and left sides of the jaw and creates additional space. New bone will grow between the two halves of the jaw, increasing its width.
Braces use gentle pressure to move teeth into their proper place. Braces also improve your oral health because properly aligned teeth are easier to clean and more resistant to gum disease. We offer many different types of braces so you can choose the type that works best for you.
After you get your braces off you’ll get a retainer. The purpose of the retainer is to keep your teeth in place, not to continue moving them. It’s important to wear your retainer as instructed to keep your teeth in their new position. You can take your retainer out to brush, and you should brush your retainer with water before placing it back in your mouth. If your retainer bends or breaks, then call us and we’ll get you in for an emergency appointment. Don’t try to adjust it yourself.
To clean your retainer, soak it in a cup of warm (not hot) water or mouthwash, or brush it gently with a clean toothbrush. Don’t use toothpaste.
We use two types of retainers, Essix retainers and permanent retainers. Essix retainers fit like Invisalign—clear removable trays that have no wires. We also use permanent retainers that are cemented on the inside of the lower teeth to prevent movement.
One of the most common problems orthodontists treat is the discrepancy that occurs when the upper teeth protrude beyond the lower. Often when patients have this condition it’s due to a small lower jaw that is set back too far. We try to encourage the lower jaw to catch up with the upper jaw through the Herbst appliance. It prevents the lower jaw from moving backward, keeping the protruding upper teeth in line with the lower teeth. At each appointment we’ll adjust your Herbst appliance. If you have any soreness or discomfort between appointments, call us and we’ll adjust it for you. Don’t try to adjust it yourself.
The twin block pushes the lower jaw forward and restricts growth of the upper jaw. It’s used when a patient’s upper jaw is larger than their lower jaw. This also causes the upper teeth to protrude. The device is made of two removable parts and should be worn all day and night. You should brush your appliance with cold water after you eat, but never use hot water or denture cleaner on your twin block.
The Distal Jet Appliance moves the upper teeth backward faster than headgear. It corrects teeth that have rotated and corrects Class II problems, which are some of the same problems headgear adjusts. The Distal Jet Appliance consists of a solid track wire and two sets of locking screws on each side. The appliance is self-limiting by design because it has a distal stop attached to the tracking wire.
Children usually stop sucking their thumbs when their front permanent teeth are ready to break through their gums. When thumbsucking continues after the permanent teeth have broken through then it can cause improper growth and misalignment of teeth.
There is a solution to thumb sucking, though! It’s called a “fixed palatal crib” and it’s placed on the roof of the mouth behind the upper teeth. It’s made of wires that attach to the child’s molars with steel bands. The wires run behind the upper front teeth and they are almost invisible. It stops thumb sucking in less than a day in most cases.
We use this appliance to stop tongue thrusting and return the tongue back to a normal position. This appliance stops tongue thrusting in the first couple months.