Types of Appliances
Palatal expanders create more space in a child's mouth by gradually widening the upper jaw. Although this may sound scary, it's really quite easy — both to do and to tolerate. That's because the upper jaw actually develops as two separate halves that don't completely fuse together until sometime after puberty. Before that happens, the two bones can gently be separated and stabilized over a period of several months.
The three situations that most commonly call for maxillary expansion are:
Crossbite — When a child's upper jaw is too narrow to fit correctly with the lower jaw, the back top teeth will bite inside of the lower teeth instead of outside. This can be corrected by expanding the upper jaw.
Crowding — Even before all of a child's permanent (adult) teeth come in, we can tell when there will not be enough room to accommodate them. Widening the upper jaw can create the necessary space without the need for tooth extractions.
Impacted Teeth — When a tooth that hasn't come in (erupted) yet and is blocked by other teeth, widening the upper jaw can allow it to erupt into proper position on its own. This most often happens with canine or eye teeth — the pointier ones located directly under the eyes.
Expanding the upper jaw has other benefits: It can broaden the smile in an aesthetically pleasing way, it can limit the number of teeth that need to be removed to create space and can also improve breathing. And it can shorten overall orthodontic treatment time (the amount of time your child will need to wear braces).
A bite plate is a small, acrylic appliance with metal clasps that clip onto the inside of the top teeth. In general, the bite plate is used at the beginning of treatment to help correct a "deep bite" (when the upper teeth overlap the lower teeth too much).
These are removable retainers made of thin metal wire and plastic or acrylic shaped to fit the roof of your mouth or along the inside of your lower teeth. The attached metal wire runs across the outside of your teeth to maintain alignment.
The Hawley retainer has these advantages:
The retainer can be adjusted if you need a better fit when you first get it or if your teeth need slight realignment later.
It’s slightly more durable than a clear plastic retainer.
It may be repairable if broken.
It can last for years if used and cared for properly.
The upper and lower teeth touch naturally with this type of retainer.
Essex or Tru-Tain Retainer
These are removable clear retainers that are molded to perfectly fit the new position of your teeth. You will take these out to eat and when you brush, be sure to put them in their case! Brush your retainers like you would your teeth. Please be sure to wear these as directed by our doctors.