Orthodontic Appliances

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Headgear

Headgear is often used to correct an excessive overbite. This is done by placing pressure against the upper teeth and jaw, which would hold the teeth in position or help move them into better positions. The severity of the problem determines the length of time headgear needs to be worn. The key to success with your headgear appliance is consistency. Headgear must be worn a certain number of hours per day, and if not, it must be made up the following day.

Headgear should never be worn while playing sports and should also be removed while eating or brushing your teeth.

Orthognathic Appliances

An orthognathic appliance, or growth appliance, is used to correct discrepancies in the growth patterns of the jaws and/or cleft palate. There are a number of different growth appliances available to correct these problems. Certain appliances are designed to gently encourage the upper palate to expand allowing for more room for the permanent teeth to grow in, while others are designed to correct overbites that occur due to growth problems. Orthognathic (growth) appliances are designed to create more room for incoming permanent teeth, promote a better bite and/or enhance the facial profile. They are sometimes used for less complex cases that do not require orthognathic surgery.

Nance Appliance

The Nance Appliance is used to prevent upper molars from rotating or moving forward after you’ve worn a headgear, a Wilson’s arch or any other appliance to move your molars back. Some patients wear the Nance Appliance while they are awaiting their bicuspids to grow into place.

The appliance is made of two bands that are cemented onto the first molars and a wire spans the roof of the mouth from one molar to the other. An acrylic pad or “button” covers the wire that touches the roof of your mouth directly behind your front teeth.

Patients should always brush around the bands daily. Do not eat sticky, chewy candy as it can loosen your appliance.

Thumb/Finger Appliance

Sucking is a natural reflex that relaxes and comforts babies and toddlers. Children usually cease thumb sucking when the permanent front teeth are ready to erupt. Typically, children stop between the ages of 2 and 4 years. Thumb sucking that persists beyond the eruption of primary teeth can cause improper growth of the mouth and misalignment of the teeth. If you notice prolonged and/or vigorous thumb sucking behavior in your child, talk to your dentist.

One solution to thumb sucking is an appliance called a "fixed palatal crib." This appliance is put on the child's upper teeth by an orthodontist. It’s placed behind on the upper teeth on the roof of the mouth. The crib consists of semicircular stainless steel wires that are fastened to molars using steel bands. The stainless steel wires fit behind the child's upper front teeth, and they are barely visible. The crib usually stops the habit of thumb sucking within the first day of use.

Lip Bumpers

We like to avoid pulling teeth as often as possible, so we use lip bumpers on our patients who need to create more room for their crowded teeth. The lip bumper is a wire on the lower jaw that extends from one molar to another and keeps lips and cheeks from touching your teeth. When you move your mouth or speak, your lips and cheeks push on the bumper, and the bumper applies pressure to the teeth. This pressure pushes the molars back, creating more space for overcrowded teeth.

If you have a lip bumper, please remember to leave it in while eating, but do not eat hard or sticky foods. Proper, thorough brushing should remove any food that gets stuck in your lip bumper.

Tongue Thrusting Appliance

Tongue thrusting occurs when the patient presses his or her tongue against the front teeth, usually when swallowing, speaking or resting the tongue. If thrusting is constant, this can cause problems with teeth alignment and must be fixed.

We prefer to correct tongue thrusting by giving patients a tongue thrusting appliance. This appliance, similar to a mouth guard, is usually worn at night. Other times, a more permanent appliance is prescribed and can be only be adjusted by our office.