Orthodontic Appliances, Care & Use
- Damon Braces
- Upper Expander
- Lower Expander
- Clear Retainer
- Fixed Retainer
- Damon Splint
These braces harness advancements in the field of orthodontics to use light-force wires for facilitating tooth movement. They create less pressure, resulting in greater comfort for the patient. As an added benefit, they require few adjustments, allowing patients to see us less often.
These are rubber bands that link the brackets on specific teeth to direct pressure and facilitate tooth movement. They can cause the teeth to be tender for a few days after they are put on. Patients can remove them when eating or during brushing and flossing, but otherwise must wear them full time. Elastics must be changed routinely, on a schedule suggested by the doctor. Always have extra elastics with you.
The Herbst appliance is used in the treatment of overbites. The appliance modifies jaw growth by guiding the lower jaw forward. Patients wearing a Herbst appliance will need to be more careful when brushing and flossing, as it complicates the process and the appliance must be thoroughly cleaned. Certain foods should be avoided to prevent damage.
Upper expanders are appliances used to widen the upper arch to make room for teeth as they emerge. The patient will have to increase the width of the expander on a set schedule to achieve the correct results. This involves inserting a key into the keyhole and pushing gently back until the next keyhole appears. Dr. Lenz will go over the process in full with each patient, as well as instructions on how to brush and floss properly with an expander in place. Certain foods must be avoided to prevent damage to the expander.
The lower expander is similar to the upper expander in that it is meant to widen the jaw, in this case, the lower jaw. However, patients and their parents do not need to adjust it; that is done in office by Dr. Lenz. Once again, special brushing and flossing strategies are needed and will be taught to the patient in office. Certain foods will need to be skipped while the appliance is in place and a fluoride rinse must be used daily.
Invisalign is an alternative to braces for those with mild to moderate orthodontic problems who do not want visible braces. It uses clear aligners that fit flush against the teeth, making them difficult to see. They are removable, making eating, drinking, brushing, and flossing easier than with braces. They are also adjusted by swapping out aligners for the next in the series, so fewer office visits are needed.
Aligners must be brushed every time you brush your teeth and users must take care to wear them at least 22 hours a day and not to lose any aligners.
Clear retainers look similar to Invisalign and tooth whitening trays. They are made from plastic, customized to fit the patient’s teeth, and removable. They are hard enough to hold the teeth in place while still remaining comfortable. Patients must clean them every time they brush their teeth. The primary disadvantages of these retainers are that they are not especially durable, can melt when in contact with hear, and they can get lost when removed.
A fixed retainer is bonded to the backs of the teeth. The retainer itself is simply a metal wire that assures the teeth remain in place. These can stay in place for a few years or for a lifetime, depending on the needs of the patient. They do require some special care, much like braces. Certain foods can damage them and should be skipped, and different brushing and flossing techniques are needed.
A Damon Splint is a type of retainer meant to be used after specific types of class II, class III, and crossbite treatment. In addition to keeping the teeth in place, it trains the muscles to better support the jaw. It is custom made through digital scans. Patients can remove it when needed but must take care not to lose it. It should be cleaned whenever the teeth are brushed. Damon Splints can melt, so they should be kept out of the sun and away from heat sources.