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.

The following paragraphs describe the types of appliances that may be used during your treatment.

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.



Headgear is used to treat patients who have a large "overjet" with the upper teeth forward of the lowers. Headgear gently "pulls" on your teeth to restrict further forward growth of your upper teeth and jaw.

Reverse Pull Facemask

A Reverse Pull Facemask is used to correct an "underbite" with the lower teeth forward of the uppers. The facemask gently "pulls" forward on your teeth to encourage forward growth of your upper teeth and jaw.

Herbst® Appliance

herbst appliance

This Herbst appliance reduces overjet 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 9-12 months.

Forsus® Springs

Forsus springs are used to correct overjet by encouraging forward movement of the lower teeth and backward movement of the upper teeth. These springs are used in conjunction with braces and are worn for 4-6 months.

Palatal Expander (RPE)

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. When you achieve the desired expansion, you will wear the appliance for several months to solidify the expansion and to prevent regression.



Retainers may be removable or fixed. 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. Do not eat sticky foods, or use toothpicks or floss with separators.

Temporary Anchorage Devices (TADs)

TADs are used as an anchor in the jaw bone to move teeth to their desired position. TADs are needed in cases where maximum anchorage is required, or when teeth must move a long way to their final position, such as in closing spaces left by missing teeth.

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