girl with braces outside smiling

Types of Appliances

To successfully complete the orthodontic treatment plan, patients must work together with the orthodontist. The teeth and jaws can only move toward their corrected positions if the patient consistently wears the elastics (rubber bands), headgear, or other appliances as prescribed. It is a team effort. The following paragraphs describe the types of appliances that may be used during your treatment.

Distal Jet®

The Distal Jet is used to move your upper molars back when your jaw growth is mostly completed. After the molars are back to the position desired, the rest of your teeth are moved into the space made and your bite is corrected.


Elastics (Rubber Bands)

elastics (rubber bands)

Wearing elastics (rubber bands) improves the fit of your upper and lower teeth. Wear rubber bands as instructed and remember that the rubber bands work far more efficiently if they're worn as prescribed.


Facemask (Reverse Headgear)

A facemask is used in growing patients whose upper jaw has not grown as much as their lower jaw. Typically, these patients exhibit an "underbite", the lower teeth in front of the upper teeth. The facemask is usually worn along with an expander placed on the upper teeth. Rubberbands are run from a hook on the expander to the frame of the facemask. Because we are applying force to make the jaw grow the facemask tends to be worn for 14-16hrs a day.



The forsus appliance is specifically designed to move your teeth to your orthodontists recommended position. In some cases this may reduce the need to wear headgear or have extractions of permanent teeth. It consists of two spring assemblies attached to the upper molars on top and the wire on your lower jaw.


Lingual holding arch

The lingual holding arch serves to maintain space made by the loss of baby teeth or to hold the lower molars and incisors in place. It consists of a metal bar that wraps around the inside of the teeth from molar to molar and touches the back of the lower front teeth. This allows us to use that space to relieve crowding and fix the way your teeth come together.


Nance button

The Nance button is a small piece of plastic that is placed on the roof of the mouth and is connected to the upper molars. A Nance is normally placed to keep the upper molars in place, preserving the space made by the loss of the larger baby teeth. This allows us to use that space to relieve crowding and fix the way your teeth come together.


Palatal Expander

palatal expander

The palatal expander "expands" (widens) your upper jaw by putting gentle pressure on your upper molars each time an adjustment is made. Your orthodontist will instruct you about when and how to adjust your expander.




Retainers may be removable or fixed, colored or clear. They hold your teeth in their new, correct positions after your teeth have been straightened. Your orthodontist will instruct you on how to care for your retainer and about the duration of the wear. Wearing your retainer as directed is crucial to prevent regression of your treatment.

Click here for more information on how to care for your retainer.


Separators or Spacers


Separators are little rubber doughnuts that may be placed between your teeth to push them apart so that orthodontic bands may be placed during your next appointment. The separators will be removed before we place the bands. Separators do not mix well with sticky foods, toothpicks, or floss.


TAD (Temporary Anchorage Device) or Mini Implant

Orthodontists are using miniaturized dental implant technology to anchor braces and affect tooth movement in ways that headgear and other orthodontic devices could not. After your teeth have been moved to their proper place, the implant is removed.

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