Orthodontic Appliances

 

Rapid Palatal Expander

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, with a special key that 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.

    

Nance Appliance

The Nance Appliance is 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.

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.

    

Thumb/Finger Appliance

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.

    
    
Before Thumb Appliance                          After Thumb Appliance &
                                                                       Braces 

The Forsus Appliance              

The Forsus appliance is used in order to help move the upper molars back while moving the lower arch forward. This appliance is often used in place of elastics or rubber bands.  Composed of a spring coil rod, the appliance is used while a patient is currently wearing braces. It runs from the upper first molar band down to the lower archwire. You may notice some discomfort initially, so we recommend a soft food diet for the first few days after the appliance is placed. Regular anti-inflammatory medication may help with any pain, if needed. It is important to keep the appliance clean; you may do this by carefully brushing the coil and other metal pieces of the appliance. Also, we recommend that patients not open their mouths very wide, as the appliance may come apart. If your Forsus appliance breaks, please contact our office immediately to schedule a repair appointment.

Tongue Thrusting Appliance

Tongue thrusting occurs when the patient presses his or her tongue against the front teeth, usually when swallowing, speaking or resting the tongue. If thrusting is constant, this can cause an open bite or problems with teeth alignment and must be fixed.

One way to address a tongue thrust is by bonding cleats or metal brackets to the lingual or inside of the front teeth. This aids in retraining your tongue to rest in the roof of your mouth.

   

Interproximal Contouring

Interproximal contouring refers to a procedure in which Dr. Mennemeyer will reshape your teeth by sculpting the sides of the teeth. This can correct cracked, chipped, crooked or misaligned teeth. Instead of braces, crowns or veneers, you can choose to have interproximal contouring to change the shape and look of your teeth to enhance your smile.