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Orthodontic Appliances And Their Uses | Hawaii Family Dental

Orthodontic treatments involve the use of removable and fixed dental appliances to correct the bite, alignment, and other dental issues.

What are the different Orthodontic Appliances?


A bionator is a removable orthodontic appliance which aims to fix one’s overbite by encouraging the growth of the lower jaw of patients.

Bite plane

A bite plane aids moderate to severe overbites. This device is made of metal wires and acrylic, preventing the wearer from biting down entirely to let the back teeth correctly erupt.

Bite Splint

A bite splint is a removable, rubber mouthpiece for the lower portion of the mouth designed to reduce a crossbite. This appliance is worn by patients who wear braces on their top teeth. A bite splint prevents the patient from biting down all the way so that the crossbite can be fixed.


Braces are the most common orthodontic devices. They come in the form of metal braces (traditional), ceramic (clear brackets), or even lingual where brackets are positioned behind rather than on top of the teeth, making the orthodontic appliance less noticeable. Braces help straighten and shift teeth.

Clear Aligners

Like braces, clear aligners help move the teeth around to correct their misalignment. They are transparent and removable.

Fan-Type Expander

A fan-type expander helps widen the front, upper arch of the mouth to correct one’s bite.

Fixed Lingual Retainer

A fixed lingual retainer is a metal wire placed at the back of the top, front, and lower teeth after braces are removed. It is put for around two years to retain the new placement of the teeth. However, note that not all braces wearers will be required to wear retainers.

Forsus Springs

Forsus springs are similar to rubber bands. They are metal tubes that are connected from the top and bottom of the mouth to correct the jaw, particularly for individuals whose upper teeth are too far ahead of the bottom teeth.


Headgear is a device that aids in correcting severe differences in the bite of the upper and lower teeth.

Lower Spring Retainer

Minimal relapse in tooth movement is often corrected with a lower spring retainer. It is a retainer for the lower, front teeth.

Palatal Expander

Two or four teeth “anchor” a metal expander in place to deepen one’s palate (top of the mouth) and help influence bone growth. This device can also fix crossbites and give more space in the mouth when the teeth are too crowded.

Pendulum or Pendex

A pendulum or pendex is a band of metal wires attached to pairs of molars. It fixes upper molars that are further forward than usual. After treatment, patients have a correct fit between their upper and lower teeth.

Reverse Pull Headgear

A reverse pull headgear is a headgear situated on the forehead and jaw to correct skeletal class III malocclusion (when the upper teeth are too far behind the lower teeth).

Rubber Bands

Rubber bands are attached to metal braces. These rubber bands are removable and must be replaced daily. Braces wearers must attach them to specified brackets to assist in moving the teeth. The pressure from the bands speeds up the straightening process.


Separators are rubber (sometimes metal) rings placed between some teeth, usually molars. These are typically used within a week before orthodontic treatment. While they make patients feel like something is stuck in between their teeth, they help create space between the teeth.

Tongue Spurs

Those with tongue thrusting or thumb sucking problems are equipped with a tongue spur, which is an appliance placed on the back of the teeth to prevent the thrusting or sucking habits, making them feel weird and uncomfortable. In the end, this prevents an overbite that may be caused by thrusting and thumb sucking.

Trans-palatal Arch

A trans-palatal arch is a metal wire attached to a pair of upper back molars. It is often utilized at the beginning of an orthodontic treatment and recommended for individuals whose adult teeth have not all erupted.

Turbo Brackets

Turbo brackets prevent the wearer from completely biting down to reduce moderate to severe overbite, allowing the teeth to erupt normally and to avoid overlap.

Upper Retainers

Upper retainers are removable retainers for the top teeth that are given to former braces wearers in most cases. These must be worn for a certain amount of time, as advised by an orthodontist. This device retains the arrangement of the teeth after braces are removed as teeth can shift all throughout one’s life.

Utility Arch

Upper or lower utility arches are sometimes placed on a patient’s teeth to create space in one’s mouth or to correct an overbite before treatment begins. This arch is attached from the molars to the front teeth.

How can I know which Orthodontic Appliance is best for me?

The best way to know which orthodontic appliance to use for the correction of your dental issue is to consult your dentist. Proper diagnosis of the orthodontic problem must be done which involves dental X-ray to view the structure of the teeth especially those which are difficult to see through visual examination.

The orthodontic appliance will be dependent on the degree of problem of your teeth, the status of your oral health, your preferences, and other condition including finances.

Disclaimer: The oral health information published on this web page is solely intended for educational purposes. Hawaii Family Dental strongly recommends to always consult licensed dentists or other qualified health care professionals for any questions concerning your oral health.


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