How Different Orthodontic Appliances Work

Ollins Orthodontics patient smiling

Choosing an orthodontist is a big decision, and we know it’s not one you make lightly. Here at Ollins Orthodontics, we value the trust you place in us, and we’re dedicated to providing you with the best orthodontic experience possible. That begins by designing a customized treatment plan for you that is based on the specifics of your case and what you hope to achieve for your smile and your oral health. We don’t do cookie cutter treatment!

After performing a thorough oral examination, one of our doctors will be able to determine if a special orthodontic appliance is needed to create the perfect smile for you. This won’t be something every patient needs, and we will only recommend it to you if we feel a separate appliance will help speed up your treatment time and improve your overall results when used alone or in conjunction with braces.

Let’s take a closer look at some of the more common appliances we use, and how they can help us move your teeth into the most optimal positions, giving you a beautifully aligned smile!

Herbst Appliance

The Herbst appliance, sometimes called a “miniscope,” is often used in patients who have an underdeveloped lower jaw. It’s often used in conjunction with existing braces, but can be used alone or with limited braces, and helps bring the lower jaw into a more forward position. A Herbst appliance can also reduce the need for external apparatus like headgear, and it may potentially prevent future orthognathic surgery.

Powerscope Appliance

Another appliance that is often used in conjunction with existing braces, the Powerscope uses gentle, continuous force to treat more serious Class II malocclusions. This much-needed pressure guides movement while still allowing for a full range of motion. A Powerscope appliance can also reduce the need for external apparatus like headgear, and may reduce the need for extracting any permanent teeth.

Palatal Expander

A palatal expander is often used to ease crowding, making more room for the top and bottom teeth to fit together properly as the first step to a straighter smile. To widen the upper jaw, the expander puts gentle pressure on the upper molars each time an adjustment is made. If this is chosen as part of your treatment plan, our doctors will give you specific instructions on when and how to adjust the expander. Once the desired expansion is achieved, the appliance may be worn for another several months in order to solidify the widening and to help prevent any regression.

Retainers

Once patients have completed the first phase of treatment, where teeth are actively moving into more optimal positions, they enter the “retention period.” This is crucial to maintaining the long-term stability of a newly straightened smile. Retainers are custom-designed to hold a patient’s teeth in their new positions until the surrounding bone, gums, and muscles can fully adapt.

Retainers will be part of almost every patient’s treatment plan. They must be worn as directed by our doctors or you risk the teeth drifting back to their original positions over time. There are a few different kinds of retainers: fixed, removable, and Essix retainers, which look very similar to our Invisalign aligners. Our team will determine what type of retainer you need and how often you’ll need to wear it based on your individual case.

Ollins Orthodontics patient smiling with braces

Rubber bands or elastics

These tiny elastics are used with braces, and although you might not think it, they’re actually one of the most important components of braces. Attached by using hooks that are part of the brackets or bands, elastics can be worn in a variety of configurations, and are the primary mechanism we use to move the teeth into alignment. The brackets give us a way to hold on to teeth, but the rubber bands and wires do the hard work of shifting them into the desired positions.

The rubber band phase of treatment is often the longest. It’s important to follow all of our instructions during treatment, and in most cases, this will include wearing your rubber bands consistently as not doing so can slow down treatment. At Ollins Orthodontics, we are often able to recommend the Damon braces system for our patients as an alternative to traditional braces. The Damon system allows us to eliminate ties that lay on the front surface of the teeth. These can make it harder for the teeth to be cleaned properly, increasing the risk of cavities and gum disease. Damon braces are engineered so that the wire is clipped directly into the brackets, not held down with ties, so teeth are able to move more freely.

Separators

Separators tend to be a very temporary and early part of treatment, and any that we use will be removed before bands are placed at a subsequent appointment. They look a little like tiny rubber doughnuts, and are used in between the teeth to push them apart. Separators are attracted to things like sticky foods, toothpicks, and even floss. Avoid these while separators are in to keep separators from popping out prematurely.

TAD

A TAD, or Temporary Anchorage Device, is essentially a miniature titanium anchor that we can position in the mouth as a way to achieve faster tooth movement with efficiency, comfort, and predictability. A TAD can eliminate the need for more intense appliances like headgear, and can give orthodontists the opportunity to treat certain types of cases better and faster than ever before. The time needed for successful TAD implant treatment will vary by patient, but in most cases, it will only be required for a few months or so.

Ollins Orthodontics patients smiling

Ollins Orthodontics: an individualized approach to creating beautiful smiles

The human mouth is complex, and requires a great deal of skill and expertise to treat it successfully, giving you the best possible orthodontic outcome. Our doctors have over 40 years of combined experience, and our staff is all highly trained registered dental assistants. Some of our team have been part of the Ollins Ortho family for almost 25 years! We are committed to providing only the highest-quality care and treatment. Using the latest technological advances such as Damon braces, customized Insignia braces, 3D imagining, and intraoral scanning, we’re able to give patients a more efficient and comfortable orthodontic experience and beautiful, lasting results.

The Ollins Orthodontic team have been treating families in Nutley and the surrounding communities for many years, and are known for our compassionate care, innovative treatments, and improved oral health. If you’re in the area and would like more information on how orthodontic appliances and treatment can benefit you and your smile, get in touch with us today to schedule a complimentary consultation! There’s never been a better time to take the first step towards the best smile of your life.

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