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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.
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Headgear is used to treat patients whose teeth are in an "overbite," with the uppers forward of the lowers, or an "underbite," with the lowers forward of the uppers. Headgear gently "pulls" on your teeth to restrict further forward growth of your upper teeth and jaw.
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.
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.
Positioners complete the final tooth movements in your orthodontic treatment. With your full cooperation, you should only need to wear the positioner appliance for 4-8 weeks.
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.
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. Separators do not mix well with sticky foods, toothpicks, or floss.
Wear your retainers full time, until the doctor instructs otherwise.
Take your retainers out when eating... and always put retainers in their case! (Most appliances are lost in school lunch rooms or restaurants.)
Clean retainers thoroughly once a day with a toothbrush and toothpaste. Use warm but not hot water. Brushing retainers removes the plaque and eliminates odors. Efferdent or other orthodontic appliance cleaners can be used, but these do not take the place of brushing.
When retainers are not in your mouth they should ALWAYS be in a retainer case. Pets love to chew on them!
Initially, you may find it difficult to speak. Practice speaking, reading, or singing aloud to get used to them faster.
Retainers are breakable, so treat them with care. If retainers are lost or broken, call us immediately.
If you have any questions or concerns about your retainers, or your retainers need adjusting, call us. Do not try to adjust them yourself.
Always bring your retainers to your appointments.
Retainer replacement is expensive... with proper care they will last for years!
Remove retainers when swimming.
Keep retainers away from hot water, hot car dashboards, pockets, the washing machine, and napkins.