What are the orthodontics appliances? Orthodontics appliances are categorized into two, fixed and removable appliances. Fixed appliances like braces are attached to the teeth by metal bands or special cements. It cannot be removed by patients until complete treatment. Removable appliances, on the other hand, such as clear aligners, are usually worn several hours in a day. Unlike fixed appliances, removable appliances can be taken off as needed. Fixed appliances are for intense treatment but removable appliances are for mild or moderate treatment. Examples of fixed appliances are braces, fixed space maintainers and special fixed appliances. Braces are consisted of brackets, wires and bands. Brackets are the most important part because it is the tool that holds the wire. Bands are served as anchors for the appliance. It is firmly fixed around the teeth. They are connected to the brackets with hook and helpful in adjusting the position of the teeth and position of the jaw. Wires in the shape of an arch pass through the brackets and are fixed to the bands. For adjustment, the patient visits the orthodontist once a month. The treatment may last for several months or even years. Fixed space maintainers are used to maintain a space or spaces between teeth. It prevents the two teeth to move due to the spaces in between. So if a child loses a baby tooth, and in order to stop the two teeth to move in until the permanent tooth comes out, a space maintainer is used. Special fixed appliances are to be used only when it is really necessary. It controls tongue thrusting or thumb sucking so patients find it uncomfortable.
Removable orthodontic appliances include aligners, headgear, lip and cheek bumpers, palatal expander, removable retainers, removable space maintainers and splints. Aligners are preferred instead of traditional braces. It is not easily noticed by other people and it can be removed when eating, brushing. Headgear is used to slow down the growth of the upper jaw, and maintain the position of the back teeth while the front ones are pulled back. Lip and cheek bumpers are made to help relieve the pressure of cheeks or lips on the teeth. Palatal expander aims to make the arch of the upper jaw wider. It consists of a plastic plate that is placed in the palate. It has screws which gives pressure on the joints in the bones, forcing them outward, resulting in the expansion of the size of the palatal area. Removable retainers are placed on the roof of the mouth. They stop the teeth from moving back to their original positions. Removable space maintainers are alternatives for fixed space maintainers. Splints are positioned either in the top or lower jaw. It helps the jaw close properly. It is also called as jaw repositioning appliances.