Types of Appliances

To successfully complete your 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, headgear or other appliances as prescribed.

The following paragraphs describe various appliances that may be used during your treatment.


Wearing elastics improves the fit of your upper and lower teeth. Wear your elastics as instructed and remember that they work far more efficiently if they’re worn as prescribed.


Headgear is used to treat patients whose teeth are in an “overbite”, with the uppers forward of the lowers. Headgear gently pulls on your upper teeth to restrict further forward growth of your upper teeth and jaw.

Reverse Pull Headgear

Reverse pull headgear is used to treat patients whose teeth are in an “underbite” with the lowers forward of the uppers. The reverse pull headgear gently pulls on your upper teeth and jaw to encourage further forward growth and to bring your upper teeth forward of your lower teeth.

Palatal Expander

The palatal expander “expands” (widens) your upper jaw by putting gentle pressure on your upper molars each time an adjustment is made. This appliance can be fixed or removable. Your orthodontist will instruct you 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.

Twin Block

The Twin Block appliance reduces overbites by encouraging the lower jaw to move forward and restricting forward growth of the upper jaw. This removable appliance is used for younger, growing children and is worn for 12-18 months.

Removable Appliances

These are removable retainers that have either expansion screws or springs or a combination of both to move teeth to a desired position.


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. Separators do not mix well with sticky foods, toothpicks or floss.