Exploring Orthodontic Appliances Beyond Braces

Braces and Invisalign clear aligners are obviously the most well-known and popular tools that people think of when it comes to orthodontic treatment. However, these treatments are unable to correct every possible problem. Your orthodontist in Melbourne will work with you to provide the best possible outcome when it comes to correcting your smile or solving problems with your bite or jaw. We have a lot of different orthodontic appliances that you may not have heard about. Here are some of those tools.

Distal Jet

A distal jet is an appliance that attaches to the teeth in order to move the upper molars backward. This can correct some orthodontic issues by making a little more space in the mouth and correcting the bite. A patient is considered a good candidate for a distal jet if they are the correct age and if their back molars need to be shifted 5 mm or less (in most cases). This appliance can be used at any age, but is usually most efficient prior to full eruption of the 12 year molars.


An orthodontic expander is a custom-made appliance used to widen a child’s jaw and palate over time. This can correct some jaw misalignments or make more room for adult teeth to grow in correctly. An expander is usually recommended when a child’s upper jaw needs to be widened. Expanders can be either fixed or removable, and treatment time can range from 3 to 12 months.

Habit Corrector

Most children will give up finger- and thumb-sucking habits between the ages of 2 and 4. When these habits continue for too long, however, it can be harmful to the teeth or their bite. A habit corrector is one option to help break the cycle of finger- and thumb-sucking. Other types of habit correctors can prevent a patient from tongue thrusting against the backs of their teeth.

Herbst Appliance

The Herbst appliance is one of the best methods for correcting a child’s bite when they have a recessive lower jaw. The appliance is attached to the teeth and serves to improve the relationship between upper and lower teeth and jaws. It encourages forward growth of the lower jaw while moving teeth in favorable directions at the same time. It’s made of stainless steel and attaches to teeth in the four corners of the mouth. A diagonal telescoping mechanism applies gentle force upward and backward on the upper teeth and forward-moving force on the lower jaw.  The Herbst appliance is usually in place from 10 to 12 months. Time can vary based on each individual patient and how much of an overbite needs to be corrected.

Lower Lingual Arch

A lower lingual arch is made up of metal bands attached to the lower first molars, with a wire running between them. This appliance is used to maintain space in a child’s lower arch by holding the molars in place while keeping the lower front teeth from tipping back. A lingual arch is a fixed appliance, meaning that it cannot be removed, except by your orthodontist. Oral hygiene is relatively easy with a lower lingual arch in place, but flossing the lower front teeth is  a little more challenging. It’s very important that patients follow the dietary guidelines given to them by their Melbourne orthodontist.

Reverse-pull Headgear

Reverse-pull headgear corrects an underbite or even a significant underbite. This treatment works best on children between the ages of 8 and 10.  This type of appliance uses forces from rubber bands to move the upper jaw forward to orthopedically correct this type of bite. When used as an early intervention treatment, it can eliminate the need for serious jaw surgery later in life for some patients. The headgear is a removable appliance, but it should be worn by the child as often as possible for maximum benefit.If you think your child might be developing an underbite, overbite, or other orthodontic problem, contact us at Melbourne Orthodontics to schedule an appointment.