Other treatments

In addition to braces or Invisalign, there's a number of other devices we may use during your treatment to help with your teeth and jaw alignment.

Habit breaker appliances

Habit breaker appliances (sometimes called habit correction appliances), are devices used in orthodontic treatment to help patients stop habits such as thumb-sucking, tongue-thrusting, and mouth-breathing.

These habits can lead to dental problems and orthodontic issues if left untreated as well as other health issues.

There are a number of types of habit breaker appliances with the most common two being:

Palatal crib: a metal device that is attached to the roof of the mouth and prevents the patient from placing their thumb or fingers in their mouth.

Tongue crib: a similar device to the palatal crib that prevents the patient from pushing their tongue against their front teeth.

It is important to note that habit breaker appliances should only be used under the supervision of a qualified orthodontist. They should be custom-made to fit the patient's mouth and adjusted as necessary to ensure proper function and comfort!

Palatal or lingual bars

Palatal and lingual bars are types of dental appliances used in orthodontics to help move or stabilise teeth. Palatal and lingual bars can be used in some cases for space maintaining after the early loss of baby teeth.

Palatal bars: a thin metal bar which is attached to the roof of the mouth (palate) with dental cement. It runs along the inside of the upper teeth and provide additional anchoring for other orthodontic appliances, such as braces, to apply force to the teeth.

Lingual bars: a thin metal wire that is attached to the backside of the lower front teeth, also with dental cement and again, is used to provide anchorage and stabilisation for orthodontic appliances.

Quad helix

A quad helix is used to correct issues such as crowded teeth or a narrow upper jaw.

It's a fixed appliance that is cemented to the back molars and has four loops that extend towards the front teeth. The loops act like a coil spring and put pressure on the teeth and gradually widen the upper jaw to create more space for the teeth to align properly.

The quad helix is a palate expander used in conjunction with other orthodontic treatment, such as braces or plates. It's typically worn for several months and adjustments may be made by an orthodontist during that time to ensure the desired results are achieved.

Like all orthodontic treatments, it is important to carefully follow the orthodontist's instructions and attend regular check-ups to ensure that the treatment progresses as planned!

Rapid maxillary expander

A rapid maxillary expander (or RME) is used to correct a narrow upper jaw, which can cause dental crowding, cross bite, or breathing problems.

It works by applying pressure on the palatal bones, gradually separating them and creating more space in the upper jaw. This expansion can occur rapidly, typically within a few weeks (hence the name "rapid maxillary expander"!)

The appliance is custom-made for each patient and is typically attached to the upper molars with bands cemented to the teeth. It has a screw mechanism in the middle that is turned to adjust the expansion process. Patients may feel some discomfort or pressure during the initial stages of treatment, but this usually subsides within a few days.

A RME is used to correct functional problems from a narrow upper jaw. It is commonly used in children and adolescents while their bones are still developing, but it can also be used in adults in conjunction with surgery in some cases.

Removable appliances

Removable appliances are designed to be worn and removed by the patient, and are typically made of acrylic. They can be used alone or in combination with other orthodontic treatments, such as braces.

One common type of removable appliance is the Hawley retainer. This appliance consists of a plastic base that fits against the roof of the mouth, and a wire that wraps around the teeth to hold them in place. Hawley retainers are often used after braces are removed or to hold space after a premature loss of a baby tooth to help maintain the position of the teeth.

Another type of removable appliance is the clear aligner (such as Invisalign). These appliances are made of clear plastic and are designed to fit over the teeth, gradually moving them into the correct position. Clear aligners can be used as an alternative to traditional braces for patients with mild to moderate orthodontic issues.

Removable appliances can be a useful tool in orthodontic treatment, providing flexibility and easy adjustments. However, it's vital for patients to follow their orthodontist's instructions for wearing and caring for their appliance to ensure the best possible results!

Twin block

Twin block refers to a type of orthodontic appliance used to correct misaligned teeth and jaws. It consists of two removable acrylic blocks that fit over the upper and lower teeth, which are designed to guide the growth of the jaw into the correct position.

The upper block has a flat surface that fits against the roof of the mouth, while the lower block is shaped to fit the contours of the lower teeth. The blocks fit against each other and allows the lower jaw to move forward into the correct position.

The twin block appliance is typically worn for a period of 12 months, during which time it gradually realigns the teeth and jaw into the desired position. It is often used to treat cases of 'Class II malocclusion', which is characterized by an overbite (upper teeth sitting further forward than the lower teeth).

Twin block therapy is a common treatment option for children and adolescents, as their jaws are still growing and developing.

Herbst Appliance

The Herbst appliance is a type of orthodontic appliance that is used to correct overbites and other jaw misalignments. It's typically used in growing patients who have a discrepancy between their upper and lower jaws.

The appliance consists of two metal rods that are attached to bands on the upper and lower molars, and a hinge mechanism that connects the two. The hinge allows the lower jaw to be moved forward, which helps to correct overbite or other alignment issues.

The Herbst appliance is typically worn for several months to a year, depending on the treatment plan. Patients may experience some discomfort initially which will typically subside after a few days. Regular adjustments are needed to ensure that the appliance is working properly and to monitor progress.

With all the above appliances, as with all treatments, the first step is a consulation with one of our Orthodontists, Dr Richard Salmon or Dr Linda Curl who will be able to discuss the benefits and any potential side effects of all the forms of treatment we offer.

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