During your orthodontics treatment process, you might need one or more of the following removable pieces of equipment.
- Aligners – an alternative to traditional braces for adults, serial aligners are being used by an increasing number of orthodontists to move teeth in the same way that fixed appliances work, only without metal wires and brackets. Aligners are virtually invisible and are removed for eating, brushing and flossing.
- Removable space maintainers – these devices serve the same function as fixed space maintainers. They’re made with an acrylic base that fits over the jaw, and have plastic or wire branches between specific teeth to keep the space between them open.
- Jaw repositioning appliances – also called splints, these devices are worn on either the top or lower jaw, and help train the jaw to close in a more favorable position. They may be used for temporomandibular joint disorders (TMJ).
- Lip and cheek bumpers – these are designed to keep the lips or cheeks away from the teeth. Lip and cheek muscles can exert pressure on the teeth, and these bumpers help relieve that pressure.
- Palatal expander – a device used to widen the arch of the upper jaw. It is a plastic plate that fits over the roof of the mouth. Outward pressure applied to the plate by screws force the joints in the bones of the palate to open lengthwise, widening the palatal area.
- Removable retainers – worn on the roof of the mouth, these devices prevent shifting of the teeth to their previous position. They can also be modified and used to prevent thumb sucking.
- Headgear – with this device, a strap is placed around the back of the head and attached to a metal wire in front, or face bow. Headgear slows the growth of the upper jaw, and holds the back teeth where they are while the front teeth are pulled back.