Which Orthodontic Appliance Is Right For You?
Besides fixed braces, other orthodontic appliances are also used to address some orthodontic problems. These appliances are usually used in younger patients, but sometimes in adults too.
These appliances may be removable, or they may be fixed to the teeth and sometimes also to the jaw bones. They are commonly used to guide the positions of the teeth and the jaw bones.
Examples of these include:
An upper removable appliance (URA) or ‘plate’ is an appliance that is often used to expand the upper arch, move some teeth with springs and also to retract teeth with wires. As the name implies, it can be removed for eating, cleaning and active sport. A URA is usually worn for 6-12 months.
The Twin-Block functional appliance consists of upper and lower removable parts. This appliance is used to guide and reduce the protrusiveness of the upper front teeth and improve the bite anteriorly and posteriorly. It can be removed for eating, cleaning and active sport. Twin-Blocks are usually worn for 9-12 months.
The Herbst appliance is a fixed appliance that is used to reduce the protrusiveness of the upper front teeth and improve the bite anteriorly and posteriorly. It cannot be removed for eating or cleaning. The Herbst appliance is usually worn for 9-12 months.
The Forsus Fatigue Resistant Device is an appliance that is fixed onto braces that are already in the mouth. It is used to reduce the protrusiveness of the upper front teeth and improve the bite anteriorly and posteriorly. It cannot be removed for eating or cleaning. The Forsus appliance is usually worn for 9-12 months.
A Facemask is a device that is worn in front of the face. It is usually attached to an expander e.g. Rapid Maxillary Expander that sits at the roof of the mouth. A Facemask helps to pull the upper jaw forward and is used in situations in which the upper jaw is set back as compared to the lower jaw, resulting in a reverse overjet, which is often called an underbite. A Facemask is usually worn 14 hours per day, for a period of 12 months.
An RME appliance is an expander that is fixed to the upper side and back teeth, and sometimes also to the upper jaw bone. It is used to create space for unerupted teeth and also to correct cross-bites. An RME can also be used in combination with a Facemask to expand and pull the upper jaw forwards.
A Quadhelix appliance is a fixed expander that is fixed onto the upper back teeth. It is usually used for some space creation and also to correct cross-bites.
These appliances are fixed appliances that are used to either maintain space for unerupted adult teeth, or to hold some adult teeth in position whilst other teeth are being moved.
This appliance may be fixed or removable. It is used to help to get rid of a thumb-sucking or finger-sucking habit in children.
Temporary anchorage devices are either small screws, or screws and plates, that are placed into the jaw bones to act as anchors when teeth are being moved. As their name implies, they are temporary, so they are removed after the desired movements have been achieved with the braces. Nowadays they are used very commonly in orthodontics and have helped to reduce the need for jaw surgery in the correction of certain types of orthodontic problems.
Retainers are appliances that hold the teeth in their new positions after braces are removed. Retainers can be fixed or removable. Fixed retainers are thin wires that are glued behind the front teeth; and removable retainers which are usually Essix or Hawley retainers are worn at night during sleep.