To successfully complete your orthodontic treatment plan, patients must work together with the orthodontist. The teeth and jaws can only move toward their corrected positions if the patient uses the necessary appliances as prescribed. The following are types of appliances that may be used during your treatment:
Separators are little rubber rings that are placed between your teeth so that orthodontic bands may be placed during your next appointment. The separators will be removed before the bands are placed. Care must be taken to not dislodge your separators with sticky foods or floss.
Elastics (Rubber Bands)
Elastics are small rubber bands worn between the upper and lower teeth to improve the fit of your bite. They attach to hooks on your braces. It is very important to wear elastics as prescribed for them to be effective and for you to finish your orthodontic treatment on time.
Expanders “expand” (widen) your jaw by putting gentle pressure on your molars each time they are activated. If expansion is indicated, Dr. Lam will instruct you about when and how to activate your expander. When you achieve the desired expansion, you will continue to wear the expander for several months to solidify the expansion and prevent relapse.
These appliances may be fixed to the teeth or removable. They reduce an “overbite” by encouraging the lower jaw forward and the upper molars to move backward. These appliances are called “functional” because they are designed to make the jaw function in a different place. They attempt to elicit a growth response in a growing patient. These appliances therefore are used mostly in younger, growing children and are worn typically for about a year.
Retainers may be removable or fixed. They hold your teeth in their new, correct positions after your treatment is completed. Your teeth are capable of moving throughout your lifetime, in spite of how perfectly they may be aligned and fit at the end of treatment. Therefore, it is extremely important to preserve your investment in your smile by following retention instructions. Dr. Lam will advise you on how to care for your retainers and about the duration of the wear. Wearing your retainers as directed is crucial to prevent any unwanted changes.