Common Orthodontic Appliances And What They Are Used For

In the field of Orthodontics there are a variety of appliances used in treatment. Some of the most common Orthodontic appliances are the following, (RPE) Rapid palatal Expander, Headgear, Thumb Guard and the Wilson. Each appliance is used to correct different problems that a patient might have.

The (RPE) Rapid Palatal Expander is a very common appliance generally used on a patient who has upper crowded teeth or a narrow upper jaw. The Expander works by being placed in the roof of the upper mouth and is turned with a special key to slowly widen the upper jaw. The expander broadens the smile as well as makes room for the crowded teeth to be aligned. Once the Expander has done its job by widening the upper jaw it remains in the patient’s mouth for 4-6 months to hold the jaw in place, it can then be removed after the 4-6 months.

Headgear is another appliance used in Orthodontics, this appliance is used for patients who have severe over jet and is also used to position teeth. The Headgear appliance works by connecting to your upper bands and  guides the growth of your jaw bone into the right direction, this is why you see a lot of younger kids with headgear because they are still growing, therefore this appliance is the most effective and fast way to correct a young patients severe over jet or teeth positioning.

Younger children among the ages of 5-10 experience thumb sucking problems; thumb sucking can affect the direction of the upper teeth tremendously by causing severe over jet. A Thumb Guard is placed in the roof of the upper mouth; the Thumb Guard contains a claw that protrudes in a downward position. The claw catches the thumb so that the thumb is not pushing up against the front teeth. The last Appliance is the Wilson; the Wilson is a heavy arch wire containing two very powerful springs.  The Wilson is placed on top of the upper arch wire and connects to the upper bands, it also contains to small hooks on the arch wire where the patient connects two rubber bands one on each side from the hooks to the lower bands.

The Wilson is somewhat similar to the Head Gear in its function to push back the molars and position teeth. The Wilson is used mostly on patients who did not respond well to the Head Gear or for patients who are too old to receive Head Gear. The Wilson is a very effective appliance, but can be dangerous if patients do not wear their elastics all day and change them 3 to 4 times a day, what can happen is the springs are so powerful they begin to push the front teeth forward if they do not have the elastics pushing them back. There are a lot of other Orthodontic Appliances out there as well but these are some of the most common appliances that work great during treatment.