Elastics (Rubber Bands)
One of the most common orthodontic appliances are elastics or rubber bands which help improve the fit of your upper and lower teeth. You will be wearing these elastics or rubber bands as prescribed by your dentist, nothing more and nothing less, because too much pressure is going to be detrimental and too little pressure, is going to waste your efforts.
A headgear is used to treat patients, whose teeth are in an overbite, meaning the upper jaw and the teeth are set much too forward compared to the lower jaw. It can also treat an underbite, when the lower jaw and teeth are set much too forward compared to the upper jaw. The headgear pulls on the teeth and the jaw to restrict the forward growth of either your upper and lower jaw.
The Herbst Appliance is worn by patients with overbites and they help by encouraging the lower jaw to move forward, as the upper molars move backward. This type of appliance is the fixed type of appliance that is best prescribed to children with growing jaws, for about 12 to 15 months.
When the jaw is much too narrow, the palatal expander can be prescribed to help “expand” or “widen” the upper jaw. The appliance is constructed a certain way, so that there is gentle pressure on your upper molars every time an adjustment is made. Proper instructions will be given by your orthodontist as to how often you have to make adjustments on your expander. You will wear the appliance, constantly adjusting it, and when the right expansion or movement has been achieved, you will usually be asked to wear it for several more months, to solidify the expansion and prevent regression.
To properly conclude the final tooth movements in your mouth during orthodontic treatment, you will be prescribed to wear the positioner appliance for 4 to 8 weeks.
Retainers that are worn after orthodontic treatment can either be removable or fixed. They function to hold the teeth in their new and correct positions, after they have been straightened and aligned by orthodontic treatment.
There are certain instructions that will be given to you, which will help you to take care of your retainers. It is going to be important for you to wear your retainers as prescribed by your dentist so that you can prevent any regression on your treatment.
Separators or Spacers
Separators are little rubber doughnuts that will be placed in between your teeth to be able to push them apart so that the orthodontic bands can be slipped through and placed during your next appointment. The separators will be inserted to allow separation and then once there is enough space, they will be removed so that the bands can be inserted. You should stay away from sticky foods, toothpicks and floss when you have separators in between your teeth, because they will only be dislodged.