Types of Appliances

To successfully complete your orthodontic treatment, patients must work together with the orthodontist. The teeth and jaws can only move toward their corrected positions if the patient consistently wears their appliance as prescribed. Remember to bring your removable appliance with you to each appointment.

The following paragraphs describe the types of appliances that may be used during your treatment.


The Bionator helps guide the teeth into the correct position as they erupt, by positioning the lower jaw forward. It corrects the over jet and over bite during active growth and is often worn in conjunction with the headgear.


Chin Cup

The Chin Cup helps back teeth from erupting too much. This is used to help close the bite in the front of the mouth. It is to be worn 12 hours a day, especially when sleeping. Typical length of wear is 6-18 months. Mole skin can be placed in the chin cup if your chin becomes irritated.


Class II Springs

Class II Springs and elastics share the common purpose of making the lower and upper teeth fit together better.


elastics (rubber bands)

Elastics (Rubber Bands)

Wearing elastics (rubber bands) improves the fit of your upper and lower teeth. Wear rubber bands as instructed because the rubber bands work far more efficiently if they are worn as prescribed.


Face Mask

The Face Mask is used to bring the upper jaw forward on young patients. It corrects under bites and skeletal growth problems. Wear a minimum of 12 hours a day. Typical length of wear is 9-12 months.




The Headgear is used to treat patients whose upper teeth are too far forward or ahead of the lower teeth. It gently "pulls" on your teeth to restrict further forward growth of your upper teeth and jaw allowing the lower jaw to grow and catch up. It is to be worn a minimum of 12 hours a day. The more it is worn, the faster it works. Wear during quiet times and while sleeping. Typical length of wear is 12-18 months.


herbst appliance

Herbst® Appliance

The Herbst® Appliance reduces overjet (when upper teeth come forward) by encouraging the lower jaw forward and moving the upper molars back. This fixed appliance is used mostly for younger, growing children and is worn for about 9-12 months.


Lip Bumper

The Lip Bumper is used to develop the lower arch to correct crowding by allowing the arch to expand, molars to upright and incisors to move forward. Typical length of wear is 6-9 months.


palatal expander

Palatal Expander

The palatal expander "expands" (or widens) your upper jaw by putting gentle pressure on your upper molars each time an adjustment is made. The animation below 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 movement into a more ideal position. The first two days, it is critical to wear full time, or as many hours as possible. Then it is worn three hours per day plus while sleeping. To maximize the effectiveness of the Positioner, the patient will do biting exercises. This is done by clenching the teeth into the positioner, in twenty-minute intervals, and holding for 20 seconds each time. Typical length of wear is 4 months.




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 doughnut shaped rings that are 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 or with toothpicks and floss. Let us know if one falls out, as it may need to be replaced prior to your next appointment.


Schwartz Retainer

Widens the jaw and straightens teeth. "Turns" are made 1-2 times a week. Generally it is used to widen the lower jaw. Although it is a removable retainer, it is recommended to wear 24 hours a day. It should be removed only to make turns and to clean. It should stay in the mouth while eating. Typical length of wear is 6-12 months.



A TAD is a Temporary Anchorage Device that is safe and predictable. It is a mini screw placed in the jaw used to move teeth without reciprocal movement of adjacent teeth. In many cases these devices simplify mechanics without surgery, eliminate compliance, and decrease treatment time.


TP Bar (Transpalatal Bar)

A TP Bar is used to control the position of your upper molars and rests near the palate using the tongue to help maintain molar position. Often the bar leaves a temporary imprint on the tongue. It is important not to rub your tongue against the bar as it can make it sore. Typical length of wear is 12-18 months.



Bite turbos are small acrylic pads that are bonded to the tongue side of the upper front teeth (incisors). They are used to correct excessive overbites, and keep you from biting the bottom braces.