We can make use of a variety of special appliances when braces alone aren’t enough to move the teeth into a better position, to correct various other conditions, and to secure the teeth in their new and improved alignment. These appliances include:
This is an apparatus that is only worn to bed, and it is primarily used to address alignment issues with the bite, such as an overbite, under bite, or cross bite. In most cases, headgear simply attaches directly to a patient’s braces in order to gently adjust how the jaws come together.
Most young children will suck their thumb or finger in moments of stress or when they need some comfort, and many simply grow out of it. However, some do not, and the continuation of this habit past the age of 5 can drastically affect the alignment of the teeth as well as the development of their jaw. To help deter this habit, we can place a small device in the mouth that prevents the finger or thumb from getting past the front teeth. After a few days or weeks of adjustment, a child will simply learn to stop the habit on their own.
After a patient has completed an orthodontic treatment, we want to make sure that their new smile stays in place, and to do this, we will use something that is called a retainer. This is a small plastic appliance that simply snaps into place within the mouth, and its job is to prevent the freshly shifted teeth from reverting back into their original positions (which trust us, can happen!). Initially, a patient will be asked to wear their retainer full time, and after a while, they’ll be able to just wear it to bed.
The size of the hard palate, or roof of the mouth, is an extremely important component of a child’s oral development, as it is what allows the upper teeth to have enough room to come in straight. If the palate is too narrow, this cannot only cause the teeth to become crowded, but it can also constrict a child’s airway and affect their quality of sleep.
To correct this issue, we can use what is called a palatal expander. Secured using rings placed around the molars, the expander is slowly widened in order to push apart the still unfused bones of the upper jaw. This appliance is best used with young children, as the bone becomes more solid as a child ages.
If a patient is born missing a permanent tooth or needed to have one removed because of excess decay or damage, TADs enable us to shift the back teeth forward to close the gap without also pulling the front teeth back (which is what would happen if the mouth was left alone). A small screw is placed into the gums, and this is used to anchor an elastic chain that is attached to a back tooth. Over the ensuing months, the back tooth will shift forward, closing the space, and the front teeth will maintain their natural positions.
For more information about all of the oral appliances we have to offer, be sure to contact us today.