What Are Orthodontic Appliances?
There are a variety of orthodontic appliances that Dr. Kelley may choose to achieve the goals of your orthodontic treatment. Some work best when the patient is still young, and bones are still growing. Let’s look at a few appliances:
An expander, also called a rapid palatal expander or RPE, is an orthodontic appliance. It corrects a narrow upper arch that can result in crossbite, crowding, or impacted teeth. It’s designed to widen the upper jaw which will create space and help resolve these common problems.
Additionally, an expander may be used to broaden a smile for aesthetic reasons (to make a prettier smile), to improve breathing, or to shorten the overall time your child is in braces during a 2-phase treatment. Expanders are also sometimes used in the lower arch to upright back teeth.
Space Maintainers preserve and create space while baby teeth come out and permanent teeth come in. There are many different types of space maintainers, but the most common are a lower lingual holding arch (LLHA), transpalatal arch (TPA), and a Nance. Placed on the lingual (tongue) side of the teeth, space maintainers utilize bands placed around posterior (usually molars) teeth. Then a stainless-steel wire passively maintains arch length and keeps the ideal arch width. Additionally, they prevent the molars from tipping.
Herbst Orthodontic Appliances
A Herbst appliance is an appliance designed to move the lower jaw forward and aid in addressing discrepancies in jaw growth often resulting in an overbite. Correcting jaw issues works best with consistent correction, making a fixed appliance preferable to a removable option like headgear or elastics. For the best results, it is also imperative to place a Herbst appliance during a patient’s growth spurt.
A Herbst appliance requires little maintenance other than regular cleaning and avoiding hard/sticky foods. Make sure you comply with any oral hygiene recommendations given by Dr. Kelley, since the appliance is in contact with your teeth.
A Forsus appliance is a fixed appliance also designed to address an overbite. Forsus Springs work similarly to a Herbst appliance by simultaneously working on both the upper and lower teeth reducing overbite and promoting proper jaw growth in adolescents. Forsus Springs attach directly to a patient’s existing braces generally in mid-treatment. Like the Herbst, Forsus Springs work best in a growing patient.