Elastics or Rubber Bands
Often dentists and orthodontists recommend wearing rubber bands or elastics in order to improve the fit of your lower and upper teeth. Remember that the elastics work much more efficiently if they are worn as prescribed; therefore, be sure to wear them as instructed.
Headgear is an appliance used for patients whose teeth are in an overbite situation, where the upper jaw is forward of the lower jaw. It is also used for an underbite, where the lower jaw is forward of the upper jaw. Headgear works by gently pulling on your teeth in order to restrict further forward growth of your jaw and upper teeth.
The Herbst Appliance is a fixed appliance that is typically used for younger kids who are still growing. It is often worn for approximately one year to 15 months. The Herbst Appliance encourages the lower jaw forward and the upper molars backward in order to reduce overbite.
The palatal expander widens or expands your upper jaw by placing gentle pressure on your upper molars every time an adjustment is made. Your orthodontist will provide you with instructions regarding how and when to adjust your expander. Once you achieve the desired expansion, you will need to wear the appliance for several months in order to prevent regression and solidify the expansion.
Positioners are utilized to complete the final tooth movements in your orthodontic treatment. The majority of patients are only required to wear the positioner appliance for 4 to 8 weeks, if you are in full cooperation.
Retainers may be fixed or removable. These appliances help to hold your teeth in their correct, new positions after they have been straightened. Your orthodontist will instruct you on how to care for this appliance and also about the duration of the wear. Wearing your retainer as directed is vital to preventing your treatment from regressing after completion.
Separators or Spacers
Spacers or separators are tiny rubber doughnuts that may be placed between your teeth to push them apart. This is done so that orthodontic bands may be placed at your next orthodontic appointment. The separators will be taken out prior to the bands being placed. It is important to note that separators do not mix well with floss, toothpicks or sticky foods.
Every appliance comes with specific care instructions. Your orthodontist will let you know how to prolong the life of your appliance as best as possible.