Everyone has heard of braces and retainers. Usually, braces consist of bands, wires, and brackets. A retainer will keep your teeth from shifting back into their natural position. These orthodontic devices are used to straighten teeth and maintain the results after treatment.
Sometimes, the orthodontist will need to use additional devices to complete your treatment. Although not as common as braces, these appliances can be an important component to achieving a straighter smile. After a thorough evaluation, your orthodontist may recommend one of these devices in conjunction with braces:
Fixed Space Maintainers – When a patient loses a baby tooth prematurely, the doctor may place a fixed space maintainer to keep the spot open until the permanent tooth erupts.
Palatal Expander – Positioned over the roof of the mouth, a palatal expander widens the arch of the upper jaw. The palatal expander uses screws to apply outward pressure and stretch the corresponding bones and joints.
Lip and Cheek Bumpers – Your lips and cheek muscles can actually exert pressure on your teeth. These appliances keep the lips and cheeks away from your teeth.
Headgear – Designed to slow the growth of the upper jaw, headgear will hold the back teeth in position while the front teeth are pulled back. Headagear is held in place with a strap across the back of the head and a wire that fits across the front.
Spacers – Rubber bands placed between teeth, orthodontic spacers are used to create enough room so that the doctor can place brackets and metal bands on the back teeth.