Braces and Appliances
Orthodontic treatment involves the design and use of corrective appliances including braces, plates, rubber bands and headgear. These appliances move teeth by exerting a constant light force to them. When the appliances are tightened, the teeth receive more force. In response to force, a tooth will move gradually through the jaw bone.
An expander can be removable or fixed. Expansion is often used to widen the upper jaw and correct a cross-bite. A fixed expanders are glued in and can not be taken in and out by the patient. A fixed expander is attached to the upper back teeth and spans across the roof of the mouth. The expander (RME appliance) may have a screw device on the roof of the mouth that is activated (turned) by a family member with an expander key, as prescribed by Dr Yeo. For every activation or turn of the expander the upper jaw is expanded a quarter of a millimetre. Expansions of the upper jaw and teeth work best from ages 7 to 14 years old. In some cases we will decide to use a quad helix appliance, this appliance does not require any turning or adjustment. The appliance is pre-adjusted and then inserted into the mouth. The appliance will expand the jaw on its own until it reaches a pre-set width. On the other hand, removable expanders are just like fixed expanders, the only difference is removable expanders can be taken in and out of the mouth during treatment. Treatment time with a removable expander versus a fixed expander generally takes longer.
We try to keep the need to use a headgear down to an absolute minimum. However, there are some circumstances that require the use of a headgear. A headgear is an orthodontic appliance used in the treatment of some patients. A headgear creates a push or pulling (depending on the type of head gear) force to guide the teeth and jaws into correct jaw alignment. The headgear is usually only worn at home and to sleep. A cervical pull, combination pull or high pull headgear are designed to correct certain forms of overjet (Class II). An overjet is characterized by the upper jaw "bucking" out over the lower jaw. Once a proper diagnosis is made the orthodontist will prescribe the headgear that will work best for your situation.
A reverse pull headgear (protraction headgear) is designed to correct an under bite or a (Class III) problem, particularly when a diagnosis of maxillary (upper jaw) deficiency (under development) is observed. An under bite is characterized by the lower jaw biting over the upper jaw. Protraction headgear therapy is often restricted to growing patients only. Adult (non-growing) patients are often ineligible for this type of treatment. In the majority of adult cases, surgical intervention is often needed to help achieve an ideal result.
A functional appliance is used in certain types of orthodontic treatment. When the upper and lower jaws do not grow in harmony many problems may arise. These include protruding upper teeth, a receding chin/jaw, crossbite, a deep overbite, and a large overjet to name a few. A functional appliance works by redirecting or guiding growth of the teeth and jaws into proper alignment. Functional appliances can be fixed (eg. Herbst Appliance) or removable (eg. Twinblock Appliance or Bionator). They usually do not cause much discomfort, is easy to care for, and is just what your smile needs to look its best.
These are the most common type of braces. The brackets are much smaller than they used to be and kids can have fun choosing different coloured elastic bands to go with them.
These braces are made of a ceramic material or sapphire crystals, and are very popular with adults because they are very difficult to see.
Invisible lingual braces
These braces are applied behind the teeth on the tongue side (lingual side) to straighten the teeth invisibly. They offer a highly cosmetic alternative to those patients who otherwise would not consider treatment.
Clear removable aligners are used to straighten your teeth without wire or brackets. These clear, plastic aligners are not attached to your teeth and are manufactured by Invisalign and Clearsmile.