Types of Appliances

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Palatal-Widening-Device.jpgPalatal Widening Device

There are certain types of orthodontic problems caused by the lack of bone growth. This sometimes makes it difficult to accommodate all of the upper teeth. The palatal widening device (the upper jaw is called the maxilla or the palate) is an appliance used to widen, or expand, the upper jaw. If a patient has teeth that are crowded or has a crossbite, a palatal widening device can be used to help correct these discrepancies. The maxilla is joined in the center by a suture, or joint, which allows it to be separated and widened. Once this separation has occurred, the two halves knit back together and the new bone that has grown in between makes the jaw wider. With the palatal widening device, there is minimal discomfort. Teeth may feel "tight" after the appliance is activated, but the "tightness" will soon diminish.

Lower-Expansion-Device.jpgLower Expansion Device

Like the palatal widening device, the lower expansion device is an appliance used to help accommodate all of the teeth in the lower arch. The lower expansion device is typically used in conjunction with the palatal widening device to help stimulate enough expansion of the lower arch to supply adequate space for all of the lower permanent teeth. Once again, the teeth may feel a little "tight" after the device is activated, but the "tightness" will soon diminish.

Jaw CorrectorJaw Corrector

Another common appliance used in Orthodontics is the Jaw Corrector, or Herbst appliance.  This appliance is used when the lower jaw is positioned too far back in relation to the upper jaw.  The Jaw Corrector is used to help stimulate lower jaw growth.  It is designed to each time you move your jaw, whether you swallow, talk or chew, you activate the appliance, which puts gentle pressure on your teeth, dental arches and jaws.  The result will be a change in your growth pattern and the way your tongue, cheeks, and lips function.