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Retainers & Appliances

 

To achieve perfect teeth, your orthodontics treatment will have several stages. When our orthodontic doctor removes your braces, the retention stage of your treatment begins. The retention phase lasts for a minimum of 24 months. Your final orthodontic result depends on your retainers, so if you are really motivated to have straight teeth then follow through with the hard work you've put in so far. Remember to remove your retainer before brushing, and brush your retainer before placing it back in your mouth.

Hawley (Removable) Retainers

The Hawley retainer, one of the most common types of retainers for achieving perfect teeth, is a removable appliance made from a combination of metal wires and sturdy acrylic, and is designed to keep your teeth in place. This retainer is specially made from impressions of your teeth so that it fits snugly and comfortably in the roof of your mouth, while any wire or acrylic framing keeps your teeth in position. The acrylic can also be personalized with a large number of colors and/or patterns.

 

Essix (Clear) Retainers

The Essix retainer is a transparent removable retainer that fits over the entire arch to create perfect teeth. Similar to Invisalign® trays, Essix retainers have no wires. They are inexpensive and easier to wear. They can be used for other treatments as well, including tooth movement and bridges.

Fixed (Bonded) Retainers

Bonded lingual retainers are one of the best ways to get perfect teeth. They are cemented directly to the inside surface of your lower canines (eye teeth), which prevents your lower teeth from shifting as it is permanently attached! Patients with bonded lingual retainers must be careful with their bite as the bonding material may break due to incorrect biting and cause teeth to shift quickly. As with removable retainers, it is important to keep them clean. When brushing, make sure to carefully clean the inside of your lower teeth as well as the wire. If your retainer breaks at any time during your orthodontics treatment, please do not adjust it yourself. Call us immediately to schedule an emergency appointment.

Headgear

In the quest for perfect teeth, headgear is often used to correct an excessive overbite. This is done by placing pressure against the upper teeth and jaw, which would hold the teeth in position or help move them into better positions. The severity of the problem determines the length of time headgear needs to be worn. The key to success with your headgear appliance is consistency. Headgear must be worn a certain number of hours per day, and if not, it must be made up the following day. Headgear should never be worn while playing sports and should also be removed while eating or brushing your teeth.

Forsus Appliance

The Forsus appliance is used in order to help move the upper molars back, while moving the lower arch forward to result in perfect teeth. Composed of a spring coil rod, the appliance is used while a patient is currently wearing orthodontic braces. It runs from the upper first molar band down to the lower archwire.

You may notice some discomfort initially, so orthodontic doctor Dr. Alena Spielberg recommends a soft food diet for the first few days after the appliance is placed. Regular anti-inflammatory medication may help with any pain, if needed. It is important to keep the appliance clean; you may do this by carefully brushing the coil and other metal pieces of the appliance. Also, Dr. Spielberg recommends that patients not open their mouths very wide, as the appliance may come apart.

If your Forsus appliance breaks, please contact our Carolina orthodontics office immediately to schedule a repair appointment.

Herbst

One of the most common problems our orthodontic doctor treats is the discrepancy that occurs when the upper teeth protrude beyond the lower. Ordinarily, when we see a patient with the upper teeth protruding, we tend to think that the upper jaw and teeth are too far forward; but, more often than not, this condition is due to a small lower jaw that is further back than it should be. For these patients to achieve perfect teeth we like to encourage the lower jaw to catch up in growth, and braces like the Herbst appliance help this happen.

Even though the Herbst appliance prevents the lower jaw from moving backward, opening and closing movement still occur easily, and patients do not have any problems learning to chew their food with their lower jaw in this new position.

As with all kinds of orthodontic braces, patients with Herbst appliances need to be careful about what they eat. For instance, cold foods such as ice slushes, Popsicles and ice will freeze the cement and make the brace loosen. Sticky foods such as caramels, bubble gum and candy suckers will pull the brace away from the teeth. Hard foods like crisp vegetables and hard candies will bend and loosen the Herbst appliance, too. So stay away from these foods during your orthodontic treatment.

Wearing a Herbst Appliance

At first, your mouth will feel unusually full and speaking will be awkward. But if you practice reading aloud, your ordinary speech will return quickly. You may also notice more saliva than normal, but this will decrease as you become accustomed to the appliance.

Your Herbst appliance will be checked and adjusted at your appointments. If, sometimes between appointments, you develop some sore areas on the inside of your cheeks, please do not try to adjust the appliance yourself. Call our Carolina orthodontics office for an appointment so that the necessary adjustments can be made.

Rapid Palatal Expander

Attached to the upper molars through bonding or by cemented bands, the Rapid Palatal Expander is an orthodontic device used to create a wider space in the upper jaw. It is typically used to achieve perfect teeth when the upper jaw is too narrow for the lower jaw, or when the upper teeth are crowded or blocked out of the dental arch.

When patients are still growing, their connective tissue between the left and right halves of their upper jaw is very responsive to expansion. By simply activating the expander through turning a screw in the center with a special key we provide, gradual outward pressure is placed on the left and right halves of the upper jaw. This pressure causes an increased amount of bone to grow between the right and left halves of the jaw, ultimately resulting in an increased width.