When most people think about orthodontics, they usually think about braces. But did you know there is more to orthodontics than just braces? It’s true, there is a whole field of extra tools that can be used to help align a smile and create a healthy look and feel to your mouth. Some of these tools are called appliances. These are a few of the appliances that we sometimes use for children or young teens:
The palatal expander “expands” (or widens) your upper jaw by putting gentle pressure on your upper molars each time an adjustment is made. Your orthodontist will instruct you about when and how to adjust your expander. When you achieve the desired expansion, you will wear the appliance for several months to solidify the expansion and to prevent regression.
A Quad Helix is a fixed expander for the upper jaw which, unlike the RPE, does not require turning to be activated. It can be used to widen the upper jaw in the front and/or the back as well as rotate the upper first molars. It is used to widen the upper arch to make room for crowded teeth and to correct a dental crossbite (teeth).
Fixed Lingual Arch (lower space maintainer) / Nance Holding Arch (upper space maintainer)
A fixed lingual arch or Nance holding arch may be used as a temporary fixed retainer to hold the permanent first molars from drifting forward after baby tooth loss. Since the baby teeth are larger than the permanent teeth that will replace them, saving the space (E-space) can be used to treat crowding as the adult permanent teeth erupt. These appliances may also be used in extraction spaces to control how the extraction spaces are closed.