Finding the Right Appliance

To successfully complete your orthodontic treatment plan, patients must work together with the orthodontist. 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 describes the types of appliances that may be used during your treatment.

Elastics (rubber bands)


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


Headgear is used to treat patients whose teeth have an over- or underbite. Headgear gently “pulls” on your teeth to restrict further forward growth of your upper teeth and jaw.


Herbst® Appliance/
Bite Jumping Springs

These appliances reduce overbites 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 to 15 months.

Palatal Expander

!palatal-expanderThe 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 on when and how to adjust your expander. Once the desired expansion is achieved, the appliance will continue to be worn for several months to solidify the expansion and to prevent regression.


!positionerPositioners complete the final tooth movements of orthodontic treatment. With full cooperation, these should only need to be worn four to eight weeks.



!retainer-maxillaryRetainers may be removable or fixed. They hold teeth in their new, correct positions after they 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 teeth to push them apart so that orthodontic bands can be placed at following appointment. The separators are removed before the bands are placed and do not mix well with sticky foods, toothpicks or floss.