If you’ve been considering straightening your smile, you probably already know a bit about braces and clear aligners. Each of these modern treatments uses gentle force to guide your teeth into straighter positions, but sometimes they need a little extra help. Thankfully, myriad orthodontic appliances work with your braces or aligners to correct even the most severe orthodontic issues and give you a smile you’ll love! Let’s explore what these appliances are and how we use orthodontic add-ons to get your best smile!
The Importance of Orthodontic Appliances
Many orthodontic appliances prep your teeth and mouth for braces treatment, while others hold your teeth in place afterward. Still, others work together with braces to help achieve the best results. The appliances Dr. Sandifer recommends for your smile will depend on your current alignment and your ultimate goals.
Every smile is different, so we’ll assess your smile at your free consultation to determine the best course of action. We’ll take digital scans of your teeth, and Dr. Sandifer will use these to create a personalized treatment plan just for you.
Types of Orthodontic Appliances
Dr. Sandifer may recommend a palatal expander if your child’s jaw is too narrow. This appliance helps the upper jaw grow to the proper width before starting orthodontic treatment.
When the jaw is the appropriate width, the permanent teeth have more room to erupt without crowding, creating space for proper alignment.
A narrow palate can result from genetics, thumb sucking, or tongue posture.
Retainers are one appliance that every Sandifer Orthodontics’ patient will use. These essential appliances may be fixed and/or removable and hold your newly straightened smile in place as your teeth stabilize into their new positions.
You’ll wear a retainer for some duration for the rest of your life, but don’t let that scare you! After the first few months, you’ll only need to wear it while you sleep.
Dr. Sandifer and her team will teach you how to care for your retainer and about the duration of the wear. Wearing retainers as directed is crucial to prevent the teeth from relapsing.
Separators or Spacers
Separators are little rubber rings that Dr. Sandifer may place between your teeth to push them apart so we can place orthodontic bands during your next appointment.
We’ll remove the separators before we place the bands. To prevent your spacers from falling out prematurely, please avoid eating sticky foods and do not try to floss around them.
Temporary Anchorage Devices (TADS)
Temporary Anchorage Devices (TADs) are small, screw-like dental implants made of titanium alloy. As the name implies, they are temporary — they usually remain in place during some months of treatment, and then they are removed. The function of a TAD is to provide a stable anchor as we move the surrounding teeth. Dr. Sandifer loves using TADs to eliminate the “gummy smile.”
Mouthguards protect the mouth from injuries that might occur during an activity like a contact sport. They don’t help straighten your teeth, but they do protect your smile investment!
A habit crib is a wire device that resembles a “basket” supported with two rings/bands attached to the back upper molars. A habit crib helps prevent harmful habits such as a tongue thrust or sucking of the thumb, which can lead to worsening of the bite and unfavorable growth of the jaws.
A metal band is a metal ring that goes around the tooth. Dr. Sandifer cements these bands with a composite that contains fluoride and helps prevent decalcification. Bands have to be used whenever Dr. Sandifer uses Forsus Springs (something a bit stronger than rubber bands to help correct the bite quickly). She also has to use bands on space maintainers, expanders, or in some cases, where there is repeatable bracket breakage.
This appliance moves the lower jaw forward to correct cases of significant overbite. It improves the size of the airway and improves the chin prominence resulting in a more balanced and aesthetic profile.
Elastics (Rubber Bands)
Elastics, or rubber bands, connect your teeth while wearing braces to help guide them into their new positions. They provide additional pressure to help achieve the best results for your smile.
Wearing elastics helps correct the many bite discrepancies, which results in a more balanced and even bite around your mouth. You should wear the elastics prescribed by Dr. Sandifer to complete your orthodontic treatment.
Perfect Your Smile with Sandifer Orthodontics
As you can see, braces or aligners are only the beginning when it comes to orthodontic treatment! While it may feel overwhelming at first, that just means that no matter the issues you have with your smile, Sandifer Orthodontics can help you reach your goals.