At your orthodontist in Melbourne we use many different types of appliances for specific types of problems. Each treatment plan is unique to an individual and his or her teeth and bone structure. Some of these appliances include:
Habit Corrector – Used as an aid to stop a thumb, finger, or tongue habit which is harming the teeth or bite. A lot of children have habits at an early age which can lead to open bites, and these bite problems can persist for the rest of a person’s life. If habits aren’t stopped early, the problems created can be very difficult to correct, and they can even require jaw surgery in the most severe cases.
Retainers – Most retainers simply hold the teeth in place. Sometimes, however, they can be used for minor tooth movement or bite correction. One type of retainer is made of plastic and metal that is custom-made for each individual who needs one. They can be made for the upper jaw or the lower and usually fit around all or nearly all of the erupted teeth. No two retainers are exactly alike, even though many look similar. Retainers are really common. In fact, most people (kids and adults) who have braces have to wear a retainer for at least a little while after getting their braces taken off.
Lower Lingual Arch – These are used to gain or maintain space in the lower jaw with or without premature loss of baby teeth. It usually connects the two lower first molars and follows the inside of the lower arch, touching the backs of the lower front teeth.
Expander – Used when the upper jaw is too narrow compared to the lower jaw and/or to gain space. An upper jaw expander stretches the bone and cartilage of the palate in order to expand a growing child’s arch to gain space and correct crossbites. Upper expanders are traditionally attached to the molars with metal rings, but they can be removable in certain cases.
Distal Jet – Used to fix a bite in the same way a headgear would be used (pushing upper molars back) but much more efficiently, comfortably, and without the obvious cosmetic issues. These are typically used for maxillary (upper jaw) protrusion, molar relations resulting from missing or blocked out teeth, and they are often good for unilateral bite problems.
Herbst Appliance – Also used to fix the bite, but can offer the added benefit of improving chin projection when the lower jaw is recessive. Most commonly used when the upper front teeth are a significant distance forward of the lower front teeth. A Herbst appliance corrects overbites by holding the lower jaw in a protrusive position, usually for a period of close to a year. This appliance is usually used in growing patients.
Reverse-pull Headgear – Normally used between ages 8 and 10 for someone with an underbite or a significant underbite growth pattern. Underbites can be very difficult to correct at later ages and often require surgery in the adult years, so early treatment can be very important. Facemask or reverse-pull headgear is an orthodontic appliance typically used in growing patients to correct underbites (technically termed Class-III orthodontic problems) by pulling forward and assisting the growth of the upper jaw (maxilla), allowing it to catch up to the size of the lower jaw (mandible). You can usually see good results if these are worn at least 10-12 hours per day, but increased wear will mean even better results or reduced treatment time.
Whatever you or your child’s dental needs are, at Melbourne Orthodontics we are here to answer any of your questions and provide support to make the process as easy as possible. Contact us today for more information!