- Rapid Palatal Expander
- Reverse Pull Headgear (Facemask)
- Anterior Bite Plate
- Habit Appliances
Rapid Palatal Expander
The Rapid Palatal Expander is an orthodontic device used to create a wider upper jaw. It is typically used when the upper jaw is too narrow for the lower jaw or when the upper teeth are crowded or blocked out of the dental arch.
When patients are still growing, their connective tissue between the left and right halves of their upper jaw is very responsive to expansion. By activating the expander through turning a screw in the center, with a special key we provide, gradual outward pressure is placed on the left and right halves of the upper jaw. This pressure causes an increased amount of bone to grow between the right and left halves of the jaw, ultimately resulting in an increased width.
The Mandibular Anterior Repositioning Appliance (MARA) is suitable for treating class II malocclusions, which are characterized by protrusion of the upper front teeth or a lower jaw and or teeth that are positioned back in regard to the upper jaw and or teeth. The appliance helps encourage the lower jaw to catch up in growth to the upper jaw.
Generally, the MARA is secured to the patient’s first molars via stainless steel crowns, which are easy to fit and retain more, compared to bands. The appliance features no removable parts, which means patient compliance is not an issue. Also, the orthodontist can more accurately predict the length of treatment.
Sore spots are minimal. Initially, it may feel strange to hold your jaw forward while eating, but within two weeks, chewing will become more natural. We recommend you eat soft foods initially. Avoiding candy, hard foods, etc. throughout treatment will help prevent breakage of the appliance.
One of the most common problems orthodontists treat is the discrepancy that occurs when the upper teeth protrude beyond the lower. Ordinarily, when we see a patient with the upper teeth protruding, we tend to think that the upper jaw and teeth are too far forward; but, more often than not, this condition is due to a small lower jaw that is further back than it should be. With these patients, we would like to encourage the lower jaw to catch up in growth, and appliances like the Herbst appliance can help this happen.
Even though the Herbst appliance prevents the lower jaw from moving backward, opening and closing movement still occur easily, and patients soon learn to chew their food with their lower jaw in this new position.
Hard or sticky foods can bend or loosen the appliance so stay away from these foods during your orthodontic treatment.
Your Herbst appliance will be checked and adjusted at your appointments. If, sometimes between appointments, you develop some sore areas on the inside of your cheeks, please do not try to adjust the appliance yourself. Call for an appointment so that the necessary adjustments can be made.
Picture by AOA Labs
Headgear is often used to correct protrusion of the upper front teeth, an upper jaw that is forward or a lower jaw that is back. Headgear places pressure against the upper teeth and jaw, which holds growth of the upper jaw and helps move teeth 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 is generally worn 10-14 hours per day.
Headgear should never be worn while playing sports and should also be removed while eating or brushing your teeth.
Reverse Pull Headgear (Facemask)
In cases where an underbite is present (the lower jaw is forward and/or the upper jaw is back), we may recommend using reverse headgear (facemask) as part of the treatment plan. This appliance is designed to fix the discrepancy between your upper and lower jaws by moving the upper jaw forward to correct the malocclusion.
The reverse pull headgear is generally worn 10-14 hours per day, which can include wearing while you sleep. You should not wear your headgear while participating in sporting activities.
Anterior Bite Plate
In situations where the teeth overlap to such a degree that the edges of the lower front teeth actually bite into the hard palate, orthodontists recommend the bite plate appliance, a removable device that looks like a conventional retainer in most cases. A bite plate appliance is worn full-time (except when eating and brushing) for six months to a year.
Correcting a deep bite as early as possible will favorably affect long-term stability and eliminate unnecessary pain, discomfort, ulcers, etc. When growth is modified while a person is still growing, the change becomes more permanent. One of the first things to relapse in a finished orthodontic case is the overbite. Thus, correcting a severe overbite is one of the first important corrections that needs to be made while growth is still occurring.
A habit appliance can be used to prevent tongue thrusting or to deter a thumb sucking habit. Tongue thrusting occurs when the patient presses his or her tongue against the front teeth, usually when swallowing, speaking or resting the tongue. Tongue thrusting and thumb sucking can cause problems with tooth alignment and can affect jaw growth. The habit appliance is made of stainless steel wires that fit directly behind the front teeth. It is fastened to the molars to secure the appliance in place. Patients wearing a habit appliance may experience minor discomfort and modified speech for the first few days.