Attached to the upper molars through bonding or by cemented bands, the Rapid Palatal Expander is an orthodontic device used to create a wider space in the upper jaw. It is typically used when the upper jaw is too narrow for the lower jaw or when the upper teeth are crowded or blocked out of the dental arch.
When patients are still growing, their connective tissue between the left and right halves of their upper jaw is very responsive to expansion. By simply activating the expander through turning a screw in the center of the palatal expander, with a special key we provide, gradual outward pressure is placed on the left and right halves of the upper jaw. This pressure causes an increased amount of bone to grow between the right and left halves of the jaw, ultimately resulting in an increased width.
Headgear is often used to correct an excessive overbite. This is done by placing pressure against the upper teeth and jaw, which would hold the teeth in position or help move them into better positions. The severity of the problem determines the length of time headgear needs to be worn. The key to success with your headgear appliance is consistency. Headgear must be worn a certain number of hours per day, and if not, it must be made up the following day.
Headgear should never be worn while playing sports and should also be removed while eating or brushing your teeth.
Sucking is a natural reflex that relaxes and comforts babies and toddlers. Children usually cease thumb sucking when the permanent front teeth are ready to erupt. Typically, children stop between the ages of 2 and 4 years. Thumb sucking that persists beyond the eruption of primary teeth can cause improper growth of the mouth and misalignment of the teeth. If you notice prolonged and/or vigorous thumb sucking behavior in your child, talk to your dentist.
One solution to thumb sucking is an appliance called a “fixed palatal crib.” This appliance is put on the child’s upper teeth by an orthodontist. It’s placed behind the upper teeth on the roof of the mouth. The crib consists of semicircular stainless steel wires that are fastened to molars using steel bands. The stainless steel wires fit behind the child’s upper front teeth, and they are barely visible. The crib usually stops the habit of thumb sucking within the first day of use.
One of the many important advances in orthodontics has been the development of temporary anchorage devices, or TADs. Made of a bio-compatible titanium alloy, TADs are miniscrew anchors which are inserted into specific places in the mouth to be used as a fixed point from which teeth can move. Before TADs, orthodontists who wanted to move some teeth while keeping others still, or to achieve orthodontic movement in a mouth with missing teeth, had to rely on headgear for their fixed point. But TADs now provide an option for that fixed point that is smaller, more discrete, more efficient and requires significantly less work for the patient.
Temporary anchorage devices may not be recommended for everyone, and in fact, most cases require no anchorage devices at all. Contact us if you’d like to know more about TADs and how they can potentially prevent you from needing orthodontic headgear.
The Nance Appliance is a type of space maintainer used to prevent upper molars from rotating or moving forward. Some patients wear the Nance Appliance while they are awaiting their bicuspids to grow into place or during orthodontic treatment to hold the molars in place.
The appliance is made of two bands that are cemented onto the first molars and a wire spans the roof of the mouth from one molar to the other. An acrylic pad or “button” covers the wire that touches the roof of your mouth directly behind your front teeth.
Patients should always brush around the bands daily. Do not eat sticky, chewy candy as it can loosen your appliance.
Interproximal recontouring refers to a procedure in which Dr. Maldonado will reshape some of your teeth by sculpting the sides of the teeth. This can create room to straighten moderately crooked or misaligned teeth. Interproximal recontouring can also change the shape and look of your teeth to enhance your smile!
The Quad Helix is a fixed orthodontic appliance used for upper arch expansion. Bands are cemented to your back molars to keep the appliance in place while four helix springs help widen the arch. This appliance is ideal for patients with crowding in the upper arch or to correct a posterior crossbite.
It is important to maintain a good oral hygiene regimen while wearing the Quad Helix. Patients should brush around and under the appliance and also floss and rinse thoroughly to remove any food particles.
The MARA appliance, which stands for Mandibular Anterior Repositioning Device, serves the purpose of correcting an overbite. It is a fixed functional appliance, which in other words means that patients are not able to remove it when they please. Once the orthodontist inserts the appliance into the patient’s mouth, it remains there until the orthodontist decides that it is time to take it out, which is typically 9-12 months.
The way the device works is it forces patients to go about their days with their jaws in the correct position. Naturally, at first, the patient will experience a bit of pain and discomfort. Little by little, the jaw grows accustomed to this positioning. The key is that the device removes the option of it returning to the more comfortable positioning it was in as an overbite.