Types of Braces

Types of Braces

Dr. Staples and Dr. Sheila use many types of “appliances,” which is the word for braces or other devices meant to move or stabilize the teeth and jaws. These appliances do more than align teeth; they actually can modify and correct problems with facial growth. Some are designed to primarily move teeth (orthodontic), while others are used to move or change facial bone structure (orthopedic). Some appliances have both orthodontic and orthopedic treatment effects.

Types of braces photo

Appliances come in two types: ones that are fixed, or don’t come out, and ones the patient can take out, which are called removable. We select either fixed or removable appliances based on a patient’s treatment needs and desires. Removable appliances are easier to keep clean, but can be lost or misplaced. Fixed appliances are worn all the time and are used for problems that require a more aggressive treatment.

Fixed Appliances

The VECS Palate Expander PhotoExamples of fixed orthodontic appliances are the brackets, bands and wires, which are most commonly associated with braces. Brackets can be made of metal, ceramic or plastic or combinations of these materials. Some metal brackets are silver-colored and some are gold-colored. Ceramic brackets are typically clear or tooth-colored and are generally used by patients who want to minimize the visibility of their braces.

Other fixed orthodontic appliances, such as Pendex appliances, distal jet appliances and coil springs are used primarily to move teeth. Devices such as Forsus springs or Jasper jumpers are often used in place of elastics, but all share a common purpose of making upper and lower teeth fit together better. We may use a lip bumper for patients with lower arch crowding.

We may also use some fixed devices to hold teeth in place while other teeth are moved. These may include lingual arches, Nance appliances and palatal bars. A quad helix is a device made of heavy wire that moves teeth, but can also have an orthopedic effect. These types of appliances may have other names, but have common uses.

Examples of fixed orthopedic appliances are the various types of palate expanders and functional appliances. Palatal expanders such as the VECS, Hyrax and Haas are examples. We also use Functional appliances, which are used to normalize growth discrepancies between the upper and lower jaws. Some examples are the Herbst appliance, twin block and Mara appliances. These are typically worn over an extended period of time and only used for a particular type of orthodontic problem.

Removable Appliances

Bionator PhotoRemovable orthodontic appliances can have many shapes and appearances. Retainers are one example. Retainers usually just hold teeth in their new positions after orthodontic treatment is complete, but springs or elastics can be added to these devices to move teeth. Rubber bands, or “elastics,” are another example of a removable system that can move teeth into their correct position.

There are also removable orthopedic functional appliances that help correct growth discrepancies. We us both the Bionator and Frankel appliances. We also use various types of headgears to act as removable orthopedic correctors. Cervical-pull, high-pull and reverse-pull headgears are used to control upper jaw growth direction and magnitude, while other types, such as face masks and chin cups help to control lower jaw growth.

Of all these appliance types, Dr. Staples and Dr. Sheila will select the particular one that best suits each patient’s needs. Each one presents its own advantages and disadvantages, and our many years of experience will help make the right choice for you.

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