Appliances may be used to move selected teeth, to hold selected teeth in place, to influence growth of the jaws, and to influence tooth eruption. These appliances can either be fixed or removable.
Attached to your braces, elastics (rubber bands) exert the proper force that creates the right amount of pressure to move teeth. In order for this force to remain constant, elastics must be worn all the time and changed every day. Any time missed in wearing your elastics will only make your treatment take longer, so remember these things:
- You are responsible for placing the elastics on your braces between appointments. Make sure to wear them as instructed. Remove them only when brushing your teeth, gums, and braces after meals. Then put them back on immediately.
- Always carry a few elastics with you, so if one breaks you can replace it right away. If your supply is low, call the office and we will mail you an additional supply of elastics.
- If you forget to insert your elastics one day, don’t double up the next day — just follow your regular instructions.
- Elastics become worn out. When they lose their elasticity, they don’t provide the proper pressure on your teeth and jaws. It is very important to change them as directed, even when they are not broken.
If your elastics break frequently, a wire or band loosens, or a hook breaks off — call our office immediately. Don’t wait until your next appointment. These problems need to be corrected as soon as possible!
Once the teeth are moved into their correct position, the braces are removed. The next step is to use retainers to hold the teeth in the desired position. Retainers must be worn as instructed or the teeth WILL move back toward their original positions. Retainers do NOT distort and are for a lifetime. Two different retainers are offered in our office, Essix and Hawley. The Essix retainer is a transparent removable retainer that fits over the entire arch of teeth. The Hawley retainer is a removable retainer made of a combination of metal wires and sturdy acrylic.
- Remember; wear them in your mouth, not in your pocket. Retainers work when you follow our instructions.
- Clean your retainers! Brush your retainer daily with toothpaste. If needed, denture cleaner can be used for a more thorough cleaning. If you have a bonded wire retainer behind your front teeth, be careful to clean it as well when brushing.
- Handle your retainers with care. Retainers are easy to lose. If you take your retainers out, always place them in your retainer case for safety.
- Do not boil your retainer to sterilize it.
RAPID PALATAL EXPANDER
Attached to the upper molars through bonding or by cemented bands, the RPE is an orthodontic device used to create a wider space in the upper jaw. It is typically used when the upper haw 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 simply activating the expander through turning a screw in the center of the palatal expander, 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.