Clear aligners and metal braces are two of the most popular orthodontic appliances used to straighten teeth and align the bite. However, these are not the only two appliances that your orthodontist can use. Additionally, some cases may require early orthodontic treatment as a child before Invisalign or metal braces can be used. As a result, your orthodontist may recommend the use of certain orthodontic appliances to achieve specific treatment outcomes.
All orthodontic appliances work by exerting a gentle, constant force on the teeth and jaw in order to encourage gradual movement over time. In fact, all orthodontic treatment is based on the fact that the bone structure of jaw bones can change as a result of direct force. During early orthodontic treatment, appliances can be used to guide jaw growth, while orthodontic treatment later down the line can be used to reposition the teeth and jaw. Depending on your individual case, different orthodontic appliances may be recommended. Excluding clear aligners and metal braces, here are some of the most commonly used orthodontic appliances:
Like its name suggests, the Twin Block appliance is composed of two blocks that fit over the biting surfaces of the top and bottom jaw. Every time you bite, speak, or swallow, these blocks exert a gentle force on the teeth that moves them into the proper position to correct an overbite. For the best results, Twin Block appliances are generally recommended to be worn 24 hours a day for around 9 months.
Reverse Headgear (Facemask)
Reverse headgear is used to correct underbites by encouraging the upper jaw to grow forward. The headgear piece is a thick metal rod that spans from the forehead to the chin, and is supported by flat plastic pieces on either end. Elastic rubber bands are used to attach the headgear to an expander within the mouth. The expander is attached to the upper molars and premolars spans across the top of the mouth. It also contains hooks on either side of the mouth for the elastics to attach. This appliance is usually worn while sleeping or while relaxing at home.
Forsus appliances are used to correct overbites by pushing the upper molars back and pulling the lower jaw forward so that the two are properly aligned. It is used in coordination with metal braces and is usually applied around six months after the braces have been applied. A Forsus appliance is fixed in the mouth and is composed of a spring coil rod that spans from the first upper molar to the lower archwire. The Forsus appliance is usually worn for around 6-9 months and it eliminates the need for headgear or elastics.
Invisalign Mandibular Advancement
In addition to aligning the teeth, Invisalign treatment can also be used to align the bite. In the case of an overbite, Invisalign clear aligners with mandibular advancement are often used. Mandibular advancement aligners are fabricated so that both the upper and lower aligners have special wings that help push the lower jaw forward to correct an overbite. With Invisalign mandibular advancement aligners, there is no need for bulky appliances to correct an overbite.
Dr. Williams is up to date with all of the latest techniques and theories in the practice of orthodontics and is an active member of the American Association of Orthodontists. He is dedicated to providing the highest quality of orthodontic care to every patient.