RETAINERS: Used after braces are removed to retain or hold the teeth in their new positions.  Retainers prevent relapse of your treatment.  You MUST wear your retainer as prescribed or your teeth will move back towards their original position.  

SPACERS (SEPARATORS): Small rubber bands that are flossed in between the back teeth before an orthodontic appliance or band is placed. They are used to gently push the teeth apart creating space in order to make the appliance placement appointment more comfortable.  Do not eat sticky or chewy foods or floss the teeth that have spacers.  If a spacer comes out and the space is still there (floss easily goes between your teeth) there is no need to replace it.  If the floss is tight, call our office ~1-3 days before your appointment to have your spacer replaced.  

HERBST® FUNCTIONAL APPLIANCE:  This fixed orthodontic appliance is typically used on growing patients to correct the bite.   It works by positioning the lower jaw forward. 

FACEMASK: A facemask is an orthopedic appliance used to modify jaw growth for a severe underbite.  It works by encouraging downward and forward growth of the upper jaw and redirecting growth of the lower jaw.  It also pulls the upper teeth forward and improves the overall facial appearance.  It can eliminate the need for implants, tooth extractions or jaw surgery in some cases.  

HEADGEAR: Headgear is an orthopedic appliance used to modify jaw growth to correct the bite.  It works by restricting further forward growth of the upper jaw allowing the lower jaw to “catch up” during growth.

INVISALIGN: Virtually invisible, clear aligners that are used to straighten your teeth so no one knows you are wearing them.  Invisalign trays are typically work for 2 weeks and can be removed to brush, floss, eat and for special occasions or sports.  Invisalign clear aligners can be used to correct a wide variety of orthodontic problems including crooked or  rotated teeth as well as spaced or gapped teeth.  

POSITIONER: A type of retainer that can be used at the end of orthodontic treatment to complete the final necessary tooth movements. Positioners can improve the final occlusion if worn as directed.  

PALATAL / MAXILLARY EXPANDER: A fixed appliance that is used to widen the upper jaw bone or palate in order to increase space or correct a crossbite.  Expanders can prevent the need for tooth extractions and even jaw surgery in the future and help to create a broad archform and beautiful smile.  

ELASTICS (RUBBER BANDS): Used with braces or Invisalign to aid in bite correction. They provide a force to shift the upper and lower teeth so they fit together properly.  Correcting the bite is important for long-term function. Elastics must be worn as directed and changed daily per our instructions. Consistent elastic wear will result in a shorter treatment time and a better orthodontic outcome.  

FORSUS® APPLIANCE: This orthodontic “spring” is attached to the braces and used to correct the bite during treatment.  It is always working so can correct the bite in a shorter period of time.  If it comes loose, use a piece of floss or an elastic to secure it to the archwire until you can have it repaired.  Remember to be careful with your Forsus and try not to open too wide or the spring will come apart.  


All orthodontic appliances should be worn as prescribed by your orthodontist. They should be cleaned at least twice per day.  When removed for eating or sports, they should ALWAYS be placed in their retainer case. NEVER place them in a pocket or purse or wrap them in a napkin where they will be broken or thrown away.  


It is normal for a new or recently adjusted appliances to cause soreness or a slight alteration of speech for a few days following your appointment.  Take ibuprofen or tylenol if you are not allergic and rinse with warm salt water or Rincinol as needed.  If you experience a sore spot on the gums that does not go away after 7-10 days, please call our office so that we can make an appropriate adjustment for you.