Types of Appliances

Separators or Spacers

Separators are little rubber elastics placed between your teeth to push them apart in preparation for placement of orthodontic bands. This process takes place 2 -5 days prior to your banding appointment. Avoid eating sticky foods and using floss between the affected teeth to prevent separators from coming out. Should a spacer fall out, please call our office.


Elastics are used to improve the fit of your upper and lower teeth. It is necessary to wear them 24 hours per day except for eating, brushing and sports that require a mouthguard. Elastics should be changed at least twice a day. Please contact our office if you require more elastics. If elastics are not worn as prescribed, this can result in treatment running longer than expected and may also affect your treatment results.

Chain Elastics

Chain elastics are used to close spaces between teeth. As spaces close, the archwire may begin to irritate your cheek. If you are experiencing discomfort, please contact our office to have your wire clipped. Wax or sugar free gum may be used to provide relief until you can be seen.

Removable Retainer

A retainer is an appliance that helps keep teeth in their new position after braces have been removed. Retainers can be fixed or removable. Wearing your retainer is the best way to preserve that healthy, beautiful smile you worked so hard to achieve. Teeth will move unless they are retained! We will instruct you on how to care for your retainer and about the duration of the wear.

Read more on Retainers on our Types of Appliances page .

Fixed Lower Retainer

Fixed retainers consist of wires bonded (cemented) to the back of the lower teeth. Fixed retainers may be replaced with removable retainers at any time, particularly if plaque build-up becomes a problem or if the dentist is concerned with your oral hygiene.

Removable Palatal Expander

A removable palatal expander is used to widen a narrow upper jaw and to correct crossbites. It is worn full time during active treatment and usually part time afterwards to hold the correction.

Rapid Palatal Expander

A rapid palatal expander widens the upper jaw by putting gentle pressure on the upper molars each time an adjustment is made. We will instruct you on how and when to adjust your expander. When you achieve the desired expansion, you will wear the appliance for several months to solidify the expansion and to prevent regression. A space usually opens between the upper front teeth during the first few weeks as the expander widens the upper arch. The space will disappear in the following weeks once the turning has stopped. This type of expander is attached to upper teeth and cannot be removed by the patient.

Bite Plate

A bite plate is a small, acrylic appliance with metal clasps that clip onto the inside of the top teeth. In general, the bite plate is used at the beginning of treatment to help correct a 'deep bite' (when the upper teeth overlap the lower teeth too much).  A bite plate usually prevents you from biting on your lower braces, and holds your back teeth apart.

MARA Appliance

The MARA (Mandibular Anterior Repositioning Appliance) is used to correct excessive horizontal overlap between upper and lower front teeth (this is what orthodontists refer to as ‘overjet’). In many cases, this excessive overjet is caused by a lower jaw that is too far back in relationship to the rest of the face.

When a patient is still growing, it is possible to accelerate the growth of the lower jaw to catch up with the upper part of the face, as well as to improve the overall jaw balance and facial appearance. The MARA guides the lower jaw forward using upper ‘elbows’ and lower ‘arms’, holding the lower jaw in its new position while the muscles and bone grow to support the new forward position.

Forsus Appliance

Forsus springs promote jaw growth in adolescents and help to eliminate excessive overjet (when the front upper teeth extend over the lower front teeth). They apply a backward force on the upper teeth, while advancing the lower teeth in order to improve the way the teeth fit together. Forsus springs eliminate the need to wear a headgear and can possibly prevent the need for jaw surgery. The length of time the Forsus Appliance is worn varies, depending on the level of correction needed for each situation.

Lingual Holding Arch

Holding arches, or 'space maintainers', are small fixed appliances that are anchored on the molars with a bar that extends from one side of the arch to the other along the inside.  They are often used to hold space after a primary tooth has fallen out early, or has been extracted. A holding arch will usually stay in a person's mouth until all, or most of the permament teeth are present; which for most children is around age 12-13 years.

Impacted Cuspid Attachment

When a tooth cannot erupt on its own, an attachment is placed on the tooth by a surgeon, so we can slowly pull it into its proper position.