Are you struggling with crooked or crowded teeth? Lacking confidence in your smile can impact your self-esteem, and certain alignment problems can even cause oral health problems. Fortunately, orthodontic appliances can help. There are many types of tooth appliances out there, and each has its own unique benefits. Below, you’ll learn more about the different types of orthodontic treatments available so you can choose what’s best for you.
Types of Orthodontics
Most people associate orthodontics with the traditional metal braces. While these braces are the most popular form of orthodontics, lots of other treatments exist as well. Braces or clear, removable aligners can both be used to adjust a person’s tooth alignment. Sometimes, tools like headgear, retainers, archwires, or rubber bands might be used to make further adjustments.
Appliances Used Alongside Braces
There are a lot of different tools that orthodontists use with braces to make the treatment more effective. Separators and rubber bands are both tiny elastic tools that fit easily in between teeth or over brackets, creating minor adjustments without invasive dental work. There is also a wide variety of archwires that are used for braces. Archwires are the long, curved wires that run along with a person’s teeth, connecting their brackets. It’s easy for an orthodontist to create different results by choosing different archwire lengths, strengths, and materials.
Braces Vs. Aligners: Which Appliance is Best?
Both braces and clear aligners are very popular and effective orthodontic appliances. While some patients prefer one over the other, orthodontists recommend both. The option you choose is simply a matter of personal preference. Children and younger teens usually do best with low-maintenance metal brackets, while older teens and adults might prefer the subtle look of clear aligners.
Other Types of Orthodontic Appliances
Even though braces are the most common ortho appliances, other tools can be used to fix jaw placement, bite problems, and more. Appliances can be removable (like retainers or aligners) or fixed (like brackets and palate expanders). Some of these devices will be used before or after braces to make the treatment more effective. Other tools will be used independently. Let’s learn about some common teeth appliances beyond braces:
Fixed Orthodontic Appliances
Fixed appliances are used to make precise adjustments to a person’s teeth. These adjustments might include fixing tooth intrusions/extrusions, correcting rotations, or closing large spaces in the mouth, such as tooth extraction sites. Traditional metal braces are fixed appliances, as are ceramic brackets. Lingual braces (brackets that attach to the backside of a person’s teeth) are a less common type of fixed orthodontics. Orthodontics can use different brackets, bands, separators, and other tools to completely customize a fixed appliance for teeth.
Removable Orthodontic Appliances
While most orthodontic appliances are fixed, some types are removable. The most common removable appliance is a retainer. This device is used after a patient’s braces treatment to maintain the shifts in their tooth alignment. Some patients might also use removable bite plates, palate expanders, or space maintainers. With removable devices, it’s important that a patient follows dental advice and wears their appliance for the correct amount of time. This is the only way to ensure that the treatment is effective.
Types of Orthodontic Expanders
Expanders are used to create space when a patient’s jaw is too narrow. This treatment is most commonly used in children to create the space needed for braces. There are different types of palatal expanders. Tissue-borne expanders work by putting pressure on the palatal mucosa, or the skin on the roof of the mouth. Tooth-borne expanders put this pressure directly on the teeth. The types of expanders an orthodontist uses will depend on a patient’s age, mouth structure, and the time frame of someone’s treatment.
Orthodontic Appliances for Overbite
An overbite, or a malocclusion, is when a patient’s upper teeth protrude slightly to cover their lower teeth. This is a very common issue, and there are different orthodontic devices for overbite correction. Patients with mild overbites can often have the issue corrected with braces and/or retainers. However, some patients might need a growth modification device (such as headgear or a bionator) to guide teeth into the correct position as they grow. Growth modification devices can modify a child or teen’s overall jaw position, reducing the need for additional treatments and even surgeries in the future.
Treating Jaw and Bite Issues
Jaw issues often affect more than just the look of a person’s smile. These problems can also result in tooth pain, TMJ issues, and more. They can also affect the placement of a person’s teeth, creating orthodontic issues for patients who wouldn’t otherwise have alignment problems. A lower jaw appliance (such as a Herbst or MARA appliance) can help to expand and reshape the lower jaw, whereas dental appliances for overbite issues (like the treatments we discussed in the previous section) can correct the upper jaw.
If a patient is experiencing bite issues, then a bite appliance is often used. Bite appliances include bite splints, which patients wear alongside braces to correct cross-bites and bite plates, which are worn in the mouth like retainers. Bite plates reduce deep overbites by preventing a patient’s front teeth from extending all the way down over the bottom teeth. Both of these treatments are effective and non-invasive, making them great tools to use even with young and/or nervous patients.
Ready to Learn More?
As you can tell, the orthodontic appliances list is a long one. There is a wide range of treatments available, making it possible for orthodontists to correct just about any alignment issue. However, we know the wide range of options can be overwhelming. Dr. Bar and the rest of the Adventure Orthodontics team make the process as easy as possible. Call us today to learn more about dental appliances for overbite issues, appliance braces, or any other teeth appliance you are interested in. We will examine your teeth, jaws, and bite to create a customized treatment plan for your smile. Schedule your consultation today!