When people think about orthodontic treatment, they usually imagine braces. Although braces are a common form of therapy, orthodontists utilize other appliances as well. Depending on the situation, your orthodontist may recommend the following orthodontic devices:
The most recognizable orthodontic appliances, braces are the brackets or aligners used to shift teeth into the desired position. Traditional braces involve metal brackets and wires, but modern advances have provided other options such as lingual braces, ceramic brackets, and Invisalign clear aligners.
Once you complete treatment with braces, your orthodontist will likely fit you for a retainer, which is designed to keep teeth from moving out of alignment. Usually, retainers are worn almost constantly at first and then less frequently for maintenance purposes.
Rapid Palatal Expander (RPE)
Generally used for crowding of upper teeth or on a narrow jaw, the rapid palatal expander (RPE) is placed in the roof of the mouth and turned with a special key to increase the upper jaw area. Expanders are typically in place for about four to six months.
When patients have a severe overjet or their teeth need significant repositioning, the orthodontist may recommend head gear. Connected to the upper bands, head gear guides the jaw growth in the right direction.
As permanent teeth begin to erupt, thumb sucking can create issues and cause alignment problems. A thumb guard, which is positioned in the roof of the mouth, stops the thumb from pushing up against the front teeth.