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Types of Appliances

In this section, you will find care and use instructions for various orthodontic appliances. If you have questions that aren't answered here, please feel free to contact our office.



Separators are tiny rubber "donuts" that fit between your teeth and remain in place for one to two weeks. The pressure from the separators pushes the molars apart slightly and creates space. This space then allows a metal orthodontic band to be fitted around your molars comfortably.

Elastics (rubber bands)

elastics rubber bands

Elastics are small rubber bands worn from one tooth to another. They create additional pressure to improve the fit of your upper and lower teeth. Typically, elastics are worn twenty four hours a day except for eating, brushing, and flossing. You will need to change them periodically throughout the day as they lose their stretch.



The Forsus is an appliance that works inside the mouth. It serves to improve the fit of the teeth and decreases excessive overjet (lower teeth set too far back). The Forsus appliance is worn twenty four hours a day for a limited time during your orthodontic treatment.



Headgear is worn to move teeth and guide bone growth in either the upper or lower jaws. Typically, headgear is worn approximately twelve hours per day for a limited time during your orthodontic treatment.

Herbst Appliance

herbst appliance

The Herbst appliance is worn entirely inside the mouth to encourage bone growth in the lower jaw and push the upper molars back to create space and reduce an overjet (the lower jaw is set too far back). The Herbst appliance is worn twenty-four hours a day for a limited time during your orthodontic treatment.

Palatal Expander

palatal expander

Expanders are worn to widen the upper jaw by applying a gentle pressure on the teeth and palate. Sometimes the expanders are removable and sometimes they are temporarily glued in place. Once the correction has been made, the expander remains in place for a short time as a retainer.



Positioners are worn for approximately three months to continue tooth movement once the braces have been removed. They are removable and resemble a mouthguard. They act by carrying out fine tooth movements. Following the positioner, typical retainers are made.



Retainers are recommended for a lifetime. They are used to hold teeth in their final positions after orthodontic treatment is completed. In the beginning retainers are worn twenty four hours a day, except for eating, brushing, and flossing. Eventually, retainer wear tapers down to a few nights a week.

Holding Appliances (Nance, LLA)

holding appliance

Holding appliances are worn to maintain space while waiting for permanent teeth to erupt.

Thumb/Tongue Crib

thumb crib

The excessive pressure from tongue, thumb or finger habits can change the shape of the natural arch form of the upper jaw or move teeth in an undesirable position and cause biting problems. A thumb/tongue crib aids in the cessation of thumb sucking habits or interrupts the pressure put on the jaws and/or teeth allowing them to recontour to a more natural relationship.

Lip Bumper

A Lip Bumper appliance creates space on the lower arch to correct crowding.