Types of Appliances
Elastics (Rubber Bands) Wear:
During various parts of your orthodontics treatment, small elastics or rubber bands may be used as a gentle but continuous force to help individual tooth movement or the aligning of one arch to the other to help the teeth fit together correctly.
It may take a couple of days to get used to this. But, you’ll probably be able to insert them up with your eyes closed after that. For the first week, your mouth may be a little sore or you could develop a small headache. Over-the-counter pain relievers may be used if necessary.
Elastics can break and you may feel one snap in your mouth. Occasionally you may even swallow one. This isn’t a problem. Just remember to replace the broken elastic with a new one.
What you have to do:
Wear your elastics on the right teeth all the time, day and night, unless otherwise advised (we’ll show you which teeth you have to connect and provide a diagram and instructions to take away).
If you wear the elastics one day and left off the next or they are only worn at night your treatment will not be successful and may take considerably longer. This is due to your teeth moving which sets up a resistance that virtually prevents normal movement. Follow instructions precisely, and you will get better, faster, more comfortable results. You may be surprised at how quickly your treatment will progress, and possibly your overall time in braces may be shorter than expected as a bonus.
Change your elastics every 12 hours to keep the forces constant and for hygiene. You may remove them to eat, but remember to replace them after you brush your teeth. Always carry a bag of elastics with you.
If you are running low, please contact us. We’ll have a bag waiting for you at the front desk or in the mailbox. Don’t run out of elastics. It will simply slow down your treatment.
Usually, after about two days, any discomfort from the elastics disappears. But if you leave them off “to give my teeth a break and allow them to feel better,” you have done exactly the wrong thing!
Stick with them.
One of the most common problems orthodontists treat is the difference that happens when the upper teeth protrude beyond the lower, commonly called an “overbite”. Usually when we see someone with the upper teeth protruding, we tend to think that the upper jaw and teeth are too far forward; but, more often than not, this condition is due to a small lower jaw that is further back than it should be. For these patients, we would like to “encourage” the lower jaw to “catch up” in growth, and orthodontic appliances like the Herbst Appliance facilitate this.
A first, your mouth will feel full and speaking will feel different. But if you practice reading out aloud, you’ll sound normal again soon. You may find that you have more saliva than normal, but this too will decrease as you get used to the device..
Even though the Herbst Appliance prevents your lower jaw from moving backwards, opening and closing movements still occur easily and you do not have any problems learning to chew food with your lower jaw in this new position.
Don’t play with the appliance with your tongue or fingers, more appliances are damaged by doing this. As with all kind of braces, patients with Herbst Appliances need to be careful about what they eat. For instance, cold foods such as ice slushies, popsicles and ice cubes will freeze the cement and make the supporting braces loosen. Of course, sticky foods such as caramels, bubble gum and candy suckers will pull the brace away from the teeth so avoid them. Hard foods like crisp vegetables and hard candies will bend or loosen the Herbst Appliance, too. So, stay away from these foods throughout your orthodontic treatment.
Your Herbst Appliance will be checked and adjusted at your scheduled appointments. If you find sore areas inside your cheeks, do not try to adjust the appliance yourself (other than placing wax on the irritation). Call for an appointment so that the necessary adjustments can be made.
photo of Forsus appliance
Another type of “overbite corrector” our expert team may suggest is a “Forsus” Appliance. It is similar to a Herbst appliance in that it is attached to the braces and is fixed. But the Forsus is implemented after all the braces have been placed. Instead of using a piston-like apparatus, the Forsus uses a special type of spring which provides a backward force on the upper jaw and teeth while encouraging forward development of the lower teeth and jaw.
Typically, the Forsus Springs are worn for 8–10 months, with adjustments every 6–8 weeks. The springs may cause some slight spaces to open between the teeth, but these will be closed once the springs are removed. Since the forces the springs apply to the teeth are light, little added discomfort is reported.
Initially, you might feel mild irritation and soreness of your lips and cheeks, but this fades fast. We will provide cotton rolls and soft wax to help cushion the springs from rubbing against your cheeks. In a few days, your cheeks and lips will accommodate to the new appliance.
Patients with the Forsus appliance must be careful with their food choices. Sticky foods like chewing gum, caramel, candy etc, will tug on the braces and other devices and could damage or cause breakage. As you can appreciate, breakages would delay the length of time you need to wear braces for. Hard food like crisp fruits and vegetables should be cut into smaller bite size pieces.
It is possible, in some cases, for the lower rods that insert up into the spring portion to disengage by opening your mouth too wide. This can easily be corrected by opening wide again, compressing the spring, and reinserting the rod back into the spring.
Our expert team may have prescribed a MARA Appliance for you. This works similar to the Herbst Appliance in that it “encourages” the lower jaw to “catch up” to the growth of the upper jaw.
At first, it will feel awkward to hold your jaw forward while eating. Your teeth will not fit together well initially, and chewing will be a challenge. But after the first week, your teeth will start to come together and chewing will be more natural. Initially, you should eat only soft foods which do not need much chewing.
MARA Appliances are usually worn for about for about 15–18 months, similar to orthodontic headgear. You’ll see an improvement in your profile, without the use of bulky or noticeable appliances. In time, your lower jaw grows to a more balanced position, reducing a receding chin. Remember, the arms or elbows of the MARA are only guides to show you where you should bite. You shouldn’t band or chew on them as this will cause damage, making them ineffective. Patients who are careful and remember to avoid candy, hard foods, pens, etc can easily last the entire MARA Appliance process without any damage. If any parts of the MARA come loose or don’t feel right, call us for a check up.
If your cheeks get sore from the device, you can add a small bit of cotton batting over the area, especially at night. Should this not work, call us for a quick check.
You’ll need adjustments as your bite changes. These will be scheduled as your treatment progresses. You may also notice small gaps developing between your lower teeth or in front of your upper molars. These will be closed later with braces.
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