To successfully complete the orthodontic treatment plan, the patient must work together with the orthodontist. The teeth and jaws can only move toward their corrected positions if the patient consistently wears the rubber bands, palatal expander, or other orthodontic appliances as prescribed.
Types Of Orthodontic Appliances
The Woodlands, TX Orthodontist Dr. Brad Leiker of Leiker Orthodontics is dedicated to serving children, teens, and adults throughout The Woodlands & Conroe, TX area with top-of-the-line orthodontic treatments. Our goal is to help you achieve a healthy beautiful smile in the relaxed and comfortable atmosphere of one of our office locations. We understand that getting braces can be intimidating for some patients, so we go out of our way to provide a personal approach to treatment and ensure a comfortable experience for you or your family member. While many of our patients were already familiar with metal braces or Invisalign, there are a number of accompanying appliances that are important components to treatment that many are unfamiliar with. Below is more information about these appliances and how they might be used in some patients’ treatment.
Wearing elastics is a critical part of successfully completing your orthodontic treatment efficiently. They should be worn consistently every day, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Constantly wearing elastics is essential because they give your teeth the “pull” that is necessary to move them into the proper alignment of your upper and lower teeth and achieve an ideal bite. If you happen to skip wearing your elastics for one day, the movement you achieved the last two to three days will be lost. Therefore, it is important to wear them as prescribed to make sure your treatment time stays on track. Soreness is expected during the first few days of wearing rubber bands. However, as your teeth adjust to the movements and the pressure, the pain will subside and then disappear. For patients who feel that they need some pain relief, taking an Advil will help you manage the pain. If you happen to skip a day of wearing your rubber bands, it is possible that soreness could return for a day or two, which is why being consistent in wearing your rubber bands will help you better manage any pain.
Palatal expanders apply pressure on upper molars in order to widen and expand the upper jaw every time an adjustment is made. We always guide our patients on how palatal expanders fit into the treatment’s roadmap and instruct patients on when and how to adjust your expander. The palatal expander takes a couple of days to adjust to while eating and talking. In general, we need to see you on a more frequent basis while you are actively expanding the palate. Once the desired expansion has been obtained, you will need to continue wearing the appliance for several more months to solidify the expansion and prevent regression. As you are expanding the appliance, a space between the front teeth usually develops. This is nothing to worry about, as the teeth will drift back together once expansion is complete. This also provides more space for alignment of the front teeth either by natural drifting or with braces.
Trans-palatal expanders have several functions in orthodontic treatment. Their functionality will vary depending on your specific treatment plan. The various functions include:
This is a non-removable orthodontic functional appliance that is used for the treatment of an overjet (top teeth protrude out from lower teeth). The spring-like appliance creates an upward and backward force on the upper molars similar to a headgear, while at the same time pushing the lower teeth and jaw forward. This helps in auto-rotating the lower jaw forward and advancing the lower teeth to reduce the bite discrepancy between the upper and lower front teeth. Typically, the Forsus Springs are worn for 6 to 8 months, with adjustments every 5 to 6 weeks in order to accomplish the forward movement of the lower jaw and teeth in a physiologically acceptable manner. The springs may cause some slight spaces to open between teeth. Don't worry, we will close the spaces once the springs are removed. The lips and cheeks may take a few days to adjust to the springs. Fortunately, the springs provide a light, constant force, so the teeth typically do not feel too much pressure or discomfort. If the springs irritate the cheeks while sleeping on your side, we have some Dry Angles which may be placed between the cheeks and springs to prevent irritation. Patients should avoid hard, sweet, and sticky foods. You should brush your teeth and gums, the appliance and the areas around the appliance carefully and often. It is possible, in some cases, for the lower rods that insert up into the spring portion to disengage by opening the mouth too wide. This can be easily corrected by opening wide, compressing the spring, and re-inserting the rod into the spring. We truly appreciate and understand the difficulty you might have adjusting to the Forsus Springs, but there should not be too much tooth discomfort because of the light force. Once you have become accustomed to the appliance, we are sure that you will be very pleased with the rapid results.
A tooth positioner may be used after removal of the braces to complete the final tooth movements in your orthodontic treatment. You should only have to wear the positioner appliance for 4 to 8 weeks. Your full cooperation is critical! Otherwise, your teeth could have undesirable tooth movements requiring replacing the braces back on the teeth. With good cooperation, the teeth will be guided to their ideal position for a beautiful smile and a good functional bite.
Separators are little rubber doughnuts that may be placed between your back molar teeth to push them apart so that orthodontic bands (metal rings) may be placed. The separators will be removed before we place the bands. Separators do not mix well with sticky foods or with toothpicks and floss.
Contact Leiker Orthodontics Today!
We hope that the information above has helped give you more insight into the different orthodontic appliances we utilize when providing treatment to our patients in and around our The Woodlands, TX orthodontist offices. If you have any questions, please contact one of our offices and Dr. Brad Leiker will be happy to assist you. We look forward to helping you achieve the smile of your dreams!