Having two children in braces, one of which is going through her second phase of braces, my family has seen our share of orthodontic appliances. While the orthodontist will narrow down the best option for each case, it boggles my mind to think that there are so many different appliances used to create the best overall treatment outcome.
Over the past 25 years, advances in the appliances have helped to move away from the old days of headgear, providing patients with more efficient and aesthetically pleasing appliances. As a mom, I am so thankful for this.
Common Orthodontic Appliances May Include:
– Elastics/Rubber bands
– Lingual Arches
– Palette expanders
After the girls reached their six month mark, our orthodontist decided it was time to move forward with the next phase of their treatment. This began with elastics/rubber bands for one girl, and Forsus (created by 3M Unitek) for the other daughter.
Elastics are little rubber bands that attach to the top and bottom of the braces that are already installed. When these elastics are worn, it creates additional pressure to improve the fit of the upper and lower teeth. Typically, elastics are worn 24 hours a day, except for eating, brushing, and flossing. The elastics come in small bags that are easy to keep up with at home and school. My daughter has done a pretty good job of keeping the rubber bands on, and has decided what works best for her is to keep a package in her lunchbox for school, and a package at home.
The Forsus, or “springs” as my daughter and her friends refer to them, is an appliance that is attached to the top and bottom of her brackets, working inside the mouth to improve the fit to the teeth. This appliance is designed to decrease an excessive overjet (lower teeth set too far back). This appliance is worn 24 hours a day, and is not something she can remove. For my almost 13-year-old daughter, this appliance is a great option because it is hidden inside her mouth and is almost undetectable. While we expected more pain and difficulty eating in the first few days, she adjusted extremely well to it.
Before Taylor began her second phase of braces, she had previously received treatment to correct a cross bite. At the beginning of that treatment, she received spacer or separators, which are tiny rubber pieces that fit in between the teeth for two to three weeks to create space for metal orthodontic bands to comfortably be fit to the molars. After the spacers were removed, a palatal expander was installed. The expander is designed to widen the upper jaw by applying a gentle pressure on the teeth and palate. With Taylor’s expander, we were able to use a small wire-like “key” to expand the appliance wider every week. While the task seemed daunting going in to it, it was no big deal at all.
As mentioned above, there are many other orthodontic appliances used to achieve the treatment goal for each patient. These are the particular ones that my family has had personal experience.
Our orthodontic experience is at Starling Orthodontics in Brentwood where we are receiving discounted orthodontic treatment in exchange for an honest review of my experience. All information and content are an honest review of my experience.