Elastics (Rubber Bands)
Wearing elastics (or 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 Forsus Fatigue Resistant Device is an alternative to headgear which promotes growth in adolescents, helping to eliminate excessive overbites, improve the fit of teeth, and possibly prevent the need for jaw surgery.
Headgear is used to treat patients whose teeth are in an overbite, with the upper jaw forward of the lower jaw, or an underbite with the lower jaw forward of the upper jaw. Headgear gently "pulls" on your teeth to restrict further forward growth of your upper teeth and jaw.
The Herbst® appliance reduces overbite by encouraging the lower jaw forward and the upper molars backward. This fixed appliance is used mostly for younger, growing children and is worn for about 12-15 months.
The palatal expander "expands" (or 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.
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 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.
MARA stands for Mandibular Anterior Repositioning Appliance. It is a non-removable appliance that encourages the growth of the lower jaw to help correct severe overbites and minimize the need for extractions or orthognathic surgery.
The MARA appliance is anchored to the molars with crowns, modified crowns, or bands. The lower attachments are fixed to the molars. The upper attachments are removable to enable your orthodontist to make adjustments according to your treatment plan.
Protecting your smile while playing sports is essential when you have braces. Mouthguards help protect your teeth and gums from injury.
A pendulum appliance is used to push your upper molar teeth back in the arch, to create space for crowded teeth or to reduce a large overjet. This appliance can be used as a headgear alternative and to help avoid the extraction of permanent teeth.
Like the palatal expander, a lower expander is used to gradually widen the lower teeth to correct severe crowding before all of the permanent teeth have erupted. Some signs that your child might require a lower expander are that: There isn't enough space for all of the lower teeth, causing crowding.
If you participate in basketball, boxing, hockey, football, gymnastics, lacrosse, martial arts, racquetball, rugby, track and field, skateboarding, skiing and snowboarding, skydiving, soccer, surfing, volleyball, water polo, weightlifting, or wrestling, it is recommended by the American Association of Orthodontists that you wear a mouthguard.
Types of mouthguards
Choosing the right mouthguard is essential. There are three basic types of mouthguards: the pre-made mouthguard, the “boil-and-bite” fitted mouthguard, and a custom-made mouthguard from an orthodontist. When you choose a mouthguard, be sure to pick one that is tear-resistant, comfortable and well fitted for your mouth, easy to keep clean, and does not prevent you from breathing properly.
Pre-made mouthguards and boil-and-bite mouthguards can be purchased at most sporting goods stores, while custom-made mouthguards are specially designed by an orthodontist to provide optimal protection against mouth injuries.
If you wear braces or a retainer, it is imperative for you to wear a mouthguard during contact sports. We can show you how to wear a mouthguard properly and how to choose the right mouthguard to protect your smile.
Taking care of your mouthguard
Similar to a retainer, braces, or any other special dental appliance, it is important to take care of your mouthguard by storing it properly and keeping it clean, as well as knowing when to replace your old mouthguard with a new one. Here are a few simple ways to keep your mouthguard clean and working correctly:
- Gently scrub it after each use with a toothbrush and toothpaste.
- Store your mouthguard in a protective case.
- Do not leave it in the sun or in hot water, because it may melt or become deformed.
- Replace your mouthguard at the beginning of every new sports season. You should also replace it if you notice it has become worn and no longer fits properly.
- Do not wear a retainer with your mouthguard. If you wear braces, we will help design a mouthguard to protect your teeth and your braces.
- Do not chew on or cut pieces off of your mouthguard. Mouthguards come in different shapes and sizes; ask us which is best for you.
- Bring your mouthguard to each checkup, so our team can check to make sure it”s still in good shape!
Sports-related injuries to the mouth and jaw are among the most common injuries suffered by athletes. Our goal is to help minimize your chances of a sports-related injury to your smile.
Be sure to ask Dr. Erickson or Dr. Aamodt about mouthguards at your next appointment. Go Team!