With any orthodontic treatment, the goal is to straighten your teeth, correct your bite, and give you the smile that you’ve always dreamed of. In most cases, this can be achieved through standard orthodontic treatment – that is, metal braces, ceramic braces, lingual braces, or Invisalign aligners. Sometimes, however, the orthodontist may recommend the use of a specialist orthodontic appliance designed to achieve harmony between the upper and lower jaw.
At Perfect Smiles Orthodontics, we understand that every patient and every set of teeth is different. That’s why we offer a range of orthodontic appliances that cater to different age groups, types of malocclusions, and treatment goals.
Generally speaking, there are three categories of orthodontic appliance: fixed, removable, and removable-fixed. These appliances are most often used as a preliminary measure to prepare the teeth for more comprehensive orthodontic treatment.
At your initial consultation, the orthodontist will assess your teeth and recommend whether an orthodontic appliance will be beneficial to you.
The Rapid Maxillary Expander (RME), also known as a palatal expander, is a fixed orthodontic appliance designed to widen narrow upper jaws. It consists of a custom-made metal plate that sits in the roof of the mouth and is attached to the back teeth using metal bands. It is known as a ‘rapid’ orthodontic appliance because the active stage of treatment lasts just 2 to 4 weeks.
The appliance features a metal expander, which is gradually widened using a special orthodontic key. By actively pushing on both sides of the top back teeth, the jaw expands at a rate of 0.3 to 0.5 millimeters per day. During this stage of treatment, you will be required to visit the practice every 2 weeks. At your appointment, Dr. Chin will set out how often you should be turning the expansion screw. As your jaw expands, a gap may form between the two front teeth. This is normal and will be fixed with braces during later treatment.
A removable dental appliance, made up of hard plastic and metal and resembling the gums in color, is known as an orthodontic plate. It can be used on either or both sets of teeth to enhance the bite and correct any minor alignment problems.
In most cases, a plate consists of a bespoke plastic tray, made using an impression or 3D scan, and metal wire. In this sense, orthodontic plates look very similar to the retainers that are worn after teeth straightening treatment. Since they’re removable, orthodontic plates can be taken out for eating and cleaning. This makes it much easier for you and your child to practice good dental hygiene.
Orthodontic plate treatment typically lasts between 6 and 18 months depending on the amount of correction required. Throughout treatment, the metal wire is tightened to guide the teeth into the correct position. This type of appliance is most commonly used for phase one treatment, which means braces are generally still required later down the line.
The Carriere Distaliser Appliance is a specialized orthodontic device that is specifically crafted to rectify class II malocclusions efficiently. It eliminates the need for extractions, uncomfortable headgear, or painful surgical procedures, allowing patients to undergo treatment with ease and convenience
The Carriere Motion Class III is a sophisticated and non-invasive remedy for class III malocclusions, which are prevalent in about 8% of the population. It is characterized by the positioning of the first lower molar in front of the first upper molar, commonly known as prognathism or an underbite
The Forsus Appliance is a fixed appliance that is used in conjunction with conventional metal braces. Consisting of a metal coil spring, it is used to treat class II malocclusions whereby the first lower (mandibular) molar sits behind the first upper (maxillary) molar.
The appliance works by pulling the top teeth back and pushing the bottom teeth forwards. Using intrusive force, the bite is aligned in as little as 6 to 9 months.
Compared to other treatments that require extractions, headgear, and elastics, the Forsus Appliance is extremely easy to use. All appliances are pre-made, which means they can be assembled and fitted in minutes. Adjustments to the Forsus appliance will be made every 6 to 8 weeks at your routine brace appointments.
With this type of treatment, your bite will likely feel strange to begin with. Though this will dissipate within a few weeks, at first you may find it difficult or awkward to eat until you adjust to your new jaw position.
All orthodontic appliances are likely to feel strange or uncomfortable for the first two weeks after they are inserted. Most patients describe the sensation as a dull ache or a feeling of pressure on their teeth. If necessary, you can take mild over-the-counter painkillers such as Paracetamol (Panadol) or Ibuprofen (Nurofen).
You may also experience increased salivary flow and swallowing while your mouth gets used to the appliance. This is normal and will pass within a few days.
The good news is that with any orthodontic appliance you should be able to eat normally. That being said, you may be required to alter your eating habits. To prevent damage to your appliance it is important that you avoid hard, sticky, and sugary foods such as nuts, chewing gum, lollies. You should also avoid fizzy drinks, energy drinks, and excessive amounts of juice.
With orthodontic appliances, it is more important than ever to maintain good oral hygiene. If plaque is allowed to build up on your appliance, it may cause painful sores (ulcers) to form inside the mouth.
To avoid this, you should brush your teeth four times a day using a fluoride toothpaste and rinse using a fluoride mouthwash before bedtime. Be as thorough as you can, making sure to target your teeth, gums, and orthodontic appliance. You may find it beneficial to use a small interdental brush to guarantee you’re reaching all the crevices of your mouth.
If you have a removable orthodontic plate, you should clean this regularly using a soft toothbrush and warm soapy water. Ensure that you have removed all the food debris and particles from the plate before you reinsert it back into your mouth.
If your orthodontic appliance breaks ring up for an appointment as soon as possible. Do not wait until your next routine appointment as the breakage may slow down treatment or damage your mouth.
Contact our friendly staff to learn more about orthodontic appliances, including how they work and if they’re suitable for you or your child.