What Are the Orthodontic Appliances That Can Fix My Smile?

Orthodontic appliances can help realign your smile

While everyone should know that making your kid use orthodontic devices from a young age can either simplify orthodontic treatment or completely avoid it in the future, not all people are lucky enough to have gone through the process. So what can you do to avoid committing the same mistakes with your kids, and what appliances can you use if, as an adult, you wish to better your own smile?

What Is Two-Phase Treatment?

As the name implies, Two-Phase treatment takes place at two different points in the life of a patient. The objective of this multi-stage orthodontic treatment is to prevent and fix orthodontic issues that a child may present or may be developing at a young age. The American Association of Orthodontists (AAO) recommends taking your children to an orthodontist at 7 years old at most. At this age, orthodontists are able to identify the issues present and decide whether the patient requires the two-phase treatment or not.

Typically,  phase one starts when the child patient has most of their baby teeth and a few permanent ones. During this period, orthodontists use different orthodontic appliances to ensure that there will be enough space for permanent teeth to erupt. According to the AAO, taking action during this early stage can help prevent the need for tooth removal, corrective surgery, and more.

Phase two includes more typical orthodontic treatments like braces and retainers. The treatments in this stage will begin after a resting period from phase one, usually when the patients have developed most of their permanent teeth.

What Are the Different Types of Orthodontic Appliances?

Orthodontists have a variety of orthodontic appliances at their disposal to help with various dental issues that affect both children and adults. From traditional metal braces and palatal expanders to headgear and retainers, there is an orthodontic appliance for your specific orthodontic issue out there.

Orthodontic appliances can fall into two different categories, removable appliances and fixed appliances. Removable appliances like retainers are more comfortable for the patient and are easier to clean, while fixed appliances like braces tend to have finer control over the movements needed at the expense of being more bothersome.

Here is a small list of different common appliances.

Herbst Appliance

The Herbst appliance is a permanent stainless steel appliance that orthodontists attach to your four first molars. The main purpose of the Herbst appliance is to bring the lower jaw forward and bring the upper jaw backward to treat malocclusions of class two. Orthodontic patients use the Herbst appliance anywhere from 12 to 15 months and are usually children with their dental structures still in development.

Your Herbst appliance will have two metal cylinders connecting the metal cap or band on your upper teeth to the ones on your lower teeth, exerting constant pressure on them. Your Lafayette orthodontist can adjust the appliance every couple of weeks to follow the correction plan.

During your first one or two weeks with the Herbst appliance, you may have some soreness and difficulty speaking. From there on, you shouldn’t feel any discomfort coming from the functional appliance.

Jaw Surgery

Orthodontists perform jaw surgery to realign jaws and teeth in situations where orthodontic appliances alone are not enough to rearrange the dental structures. Usually, the procedure comes accompanied by some type of appliance, either before or after the intervention.

For a patient to undergo jaw surgery, they must have completed their dental development, around 16 years for women and 21 for men.

What Are Orthodontic Braces?

Orthodontic braces are a type of orthodontic appliance that helps fix a variety of dental issues, such as gaps between teeth, malocclusion of different classes, overcrowding, and more. They accomplish this by moving your teeth and jaws to new positions with constant light pressure.

To many of you, traditional metal braces are the first thing that comes to mind when talking about orthodontic appliances, as it is the most common among them. However, there are many types of dental braces for you to choose from, like lingual braces, ceramic braces, and Invisalign.

Traditional braces have 3 main parts, the brackets, the archwire, and the ligatures that hold the first two together. First, we have brackets, which are small metal pieces that orthodontists cement to a patient’s teeth. Then we have the archwires, which are metal wires that go across both the lower and upper teeth, pulling them into the desired location. Finally, the ligatures are small rubber bands that attach to both the archwire and the brackets to create pressure on your teeth and jaws.

On the other hand, we have Invisalign. It consists of only two plastic trays that apply light and constant pressure on a patient’s teeth. Patients should wear clear aligners for around 22 hours a day to be effective and change them every few weeks to continue the progress. Its removable nature makes it a very comfortable treatment for both young and adult patients.

Get the Right Appliance to Get Your Perfect Smile

Whether you are looking to solve developing issues with your child’s oral health or wish to get a healthier smile for yourself, here at Balhoff Orthodontics, we are more than ready to help you or your family have the smile you deserve. Schedule an appointment with us here whenever you are ready.