While there are some orthodontic appliances that are designed to be the main treatment technique for certain orthodontic concerns, many of these devices serve as an extra step in the primary treatment process to ensure the best possible results. In fact, a commitment to wearing orthodontic appliances regularly can mean the difference between a successful treatment and a failed one.
Retainers are a vital component of many orthodontic treatments. There are two major types of retainers: fixed and removable. In most cases, retainers serve as part of the final stages of orthodontic treatment. They are designed to help the teeth hold their new position and keep them secure. The length of time that a retainer should be worn depends on the orthodontic technique that was involved and on each patient’s unique needs.
Positioners help keep the teeth in the best possible position once the main stages of orthodontic treatment are complete. They are typically made of an elastic material and placed once the braces have been removed, serving to guide the teeth into what will become their final position. Positioners are typically worn for approximately four to eight weeks; however, the best length of time will ultimately depend on each individual’s needs.
Elastics (Rubber Bands)
Elastics are essentially strong rubber bands that are designed to work with orthodontic treatments such as braces. They can often be ordered in a variety of colors, including transparent varieties, to suit your tastes. Elastics can be very important components of your treatment, ultimately helping to bring your teeth into a better alignment and improve your bite.
Spacers, also known as separators, are orthodontic appliances that make it possible for Dr. Murphy to temporarily keep an open space between your teeth in order to eventually accommodate an orthodontic band. In most cases, spacers are only in place for a short period of time – typically between one appointment and the next. It is important to stay away from chewy or sticky foods as much as possible while the spacers are in place and to take care not to pop them out when using dental floss or toothpicks.
Many overbite and underbite conditions can be addressed with headgear. A facebow, often attached to a retainer placed on the teeth, is held in place by a strap that fits around the head. While headgear can be somewhat cumbersome, it can typically provide very effective treatment. Plus, it usually needs to be worn only at certain times during the day.
Fixed Herbst® Appliance
The Fixed Herbst® Appliance is an advanced method of treating an overbite. This technique can help the lower jaw gradually take on a more forward position. The Fixed Herbst® Appliance can often be a good option for children whose jaws are still developing. The average time the appliance will be in place is about 12 months; however, this will vary among individual patients.
A palatal expander is a fixed orthodontic appliance designed to widen the upper jaw. This can be necessary for patients who have an upper jaw that is narrower than the bottom jaw, which can cause serious bite issues. It can also help provide the teeth with more room to erupt. The palatal expander puts a modest amount of pressure on the upper molars to give them extra space. This appliance is typically worn for several months so that optimal results can be achieved; however, the total amount of time will depend on each patient’s individual needs.
Contact Murphy Orthodontics
If you would like to learn more about the orthodontic appliance options here at our practice, or if you would like to schedule a consultation with Dr. Murphy, please contact us today.