Functional appliances play an important role in the orthodontic treatment we provide at our Melbourne orthodontic practice.
Appliance therapy is a vital part of early intervention treatment, during orthodontic treatment and for maintaining your smile after treatment. We provide our patients with a range of orthodontic appliances to be used either prior to, during or after your treatment to optimise their results.
Elastics (Rubber Bands)
Wearing elastics (or rubber bands) are used to gain greater movement in your upper and lower teeth. Wear rubber bands as instructed by your orthodontist as these help place pressure on the teeth for more optimal movement, and remember that your diligence whilst wearing your rubber bands can influence your overall outcome.
The Herbst® appliance reduces overbite by encouraging the lower jaw forward and the upper molars backward. This fixed appliance is used mostly for younger, growing children and is worn for about 12-15 months.
A palatal expander “expands” (or widens) your upper jaw by putting gentle pressure on your upper molars each time an adjustment is made. They are generally recommended for children who have a narrow upper dental arch that has minimal space for their permanent teeth; however it can also be used for adults with bite discrepancies. Our orthodontist will instruct you about when and how to adjust your expander. When you achieve the desired expansion, you will wear the appliance for several months to solidify the expansion and to prevent regression. Compliance is absolutely essential.
Positioners complete the final tooth movements in your orthodontic treatment. You should only need to wear the positioner appliance for 4-8 weeks.
Once your treatment is finished, it’s not only important to maintain the health of your teeth with a good oral hygiene routine, it’s also vitally important to remember that your teeth can still move. This is why we fit each of our patients with retainers so your beautifully straight smile stays that way. Retainers can be removable or fixed. They hold your teeth in their new, correct positions after your teeth have been straightened. One of our Melbourne based orthodontists will instruct you on how to care for your retainer. Wearing your retainer as directed is integral to retaining the beautiful results of your treatment.
Separators or Spacers
Separators or spacers are small rubber discs that may be placed between your teeth to push them apart so orthodontic bands can be placed during your next appointment. The separators will be removed before we place the bands. When you are wearing separators it is best to avoid sticky foods, chewing gum and the use of toothpicks. If your teeth are tender after the separators have been placed, you may take a pain reliever such as Panadol.