Retainers & Appliances

Retainers

Getting your teeth straight doesn’t mean much if they don’t stay that way!  Your teeth and jaws continue to move and change as a part of the aging and growth process.

Once your braces come off, our orthodontists will discuss how to keep your new beautiful smile looking its best.  This may mean the placement of permanent bonded wire retainers on the inside surfaces of your teeth.  It could also mean wearing a removable retainer device.  If you want to keep your beautiful smile intact, you will need to wear these retainers as instructed by your doctor, many times for life.

Your original treatment contract includes one set of retainers after the braces are removed and retainer checks for two years. If the retainers are lost or damaged due to neglect, there will be a charge for replacement. If the retainers become loose or break, contact our office immediately.  Because they are worn for years, your retainers will also need periodic replacement.   Your doctor will discuss your retainers in more detail with you on a case by case basis.

Caring for your retainers:

  • Brush your teeth as well as your retainers after every meal. Use a toothbrush and liquid soap/dishwashing liquid to clean all surfaces. You may also soak your retainers in solutions especially designed for cleaning retainers or dentures once a week for 15 minutes to remove any tartar build-up.
  • If your retainer is not in your mouth, IT SHOULD BE IN ITS CASE!  And do not ever wrap your retainer in a napkin or paper towel.  Most appliances are lost in school lunch rooms or restaurants by being accidentally thrown away.
  • Pets think appliances make great chew toys!  Please be sure to keep them out of your pet’s reach!
  • Retainers are made of a thermoplastic material that is sensitive to excessive heat.  They should be kept away from hot water, heaters, dishwashers, car dashboards or any place where the temperatures exceed 115 degrees (Fº).
  • Do not bite them into place.  Always use your fingers to seat them.
  • If you lose or break a retainer, call us immediately. Your teeth will shift if retainers are not worn.

Palatal Expanders

Palatal expanders are orthodontic devices used to create a wider space in the upper jaw. They are typically used when the upper jaw is too narrow for the lower jaw or when the upper teeth are crowded or blocked out of the dental arch.

When patients are still growing, their connective tissue between the left and right halves of their upper jaw is very responsive to expansion. By simply activating the expander through turning a screw in the center, with a special key, gradual outward pressure is placed on the left and right halves of the upper jaw. This pressure causes an increased amount of bone to grow between the right and left halves of the jaw, ultimately resulting in an increased width.

Lower Expanders

Lower expanders are used to reduce the crowding in the lower jaw by expanding the teeth. These devices are activated similarly to the upper palatal expander by simply turning a screw in the center with a special key.  Again, the gradual outward pressure causes an increased amount of bone to grow between the right and left halves, ultimately increasing the width of the lower jaw.

Bite Plates

Bite plates are designed to correct deep overbites so that the upper front teeth don’t cover too much of the lower teeth. When you wear a bite plate, the lower back teeth have room to erupt so that your lower arch is flat and level.

Bite plates must be worn all the time (including eating). Only remove them to brush or while playing sports.

Headgear

HEADGEAR Mary Kay Becher DDS PA Austin TXHeadgear is designed to correct an over-jet and overbite by holding the growth of the upper jaw back and allowing the lower jaw to catch up. We will give you specific instructions on how to wear your headgear. Usually they are worn 12-14 hours a day but only at home (DO NOT wear your headgear outside or to school). The first few nights of headgear wear can be challenging, but with consistent wear it will become natural to wear it to bed.

Be cautious while wearing your appliance. Always remove the headgear by first taking off the strap. Never wear the headgear while playing around with your friends or playing sports. If you have any trouble with the headgear, please call us. Always bring your headgear to your appointments.

Facemask

A facemask (also known as reverse-pull headgear) is designed to pull the upper jaw and teeth forward to fix an underbite. It is also used to change the relationship between the upper and lower jaws.

We will give you specific instructions on how to wear your facemask. Usually they are worn 12-14 hours a day but only at home. Do not wear your facemask outside or to school. The first few nights of facemask wear can be challenging, but with consistent wear, it will become natural to wear it to bed. Cleansing the face with antibacterial soap/astringent before wearing the facemask and moisturizing the areas under the pads during the day helps keep the skin healthy.

Be cautious while wearing your appliance. Always remove the facemask by first securing the appliance and then removing the rubber bands. Never wear the facemask while playing around with your friends or playing sports. If you have any trouble with the facemask, please call us. Always bring your facemask to your appointments.

Forsus

Class II overbites are a commonly corrected orthodontic malocclusion.  Typically caused by the first lower molar being too far back from the upper first molar, historical correction often required wearing a headgear for several hours daily – not very much fun for the patient and often a compliance issue.  The Forsus ™ Fatigue Resistant Device is a new treatment alternative that may be placed in a single appointment with your existing braces in the back of the mouth.  Its components are a telescoping spring on a small metal extension that provides light, continuous pressure on the teeth.    It’s invisible and does not require daily changes, adjustments, or use of an external appliance.  Its open coil spring is easily brushed clean during regular brushing.

The length of time that the Forsus Appliance is worn will vary depending on the level of correction needed for each case.  But during the time that it is worn, its design features provide one of the most comfortable and effective treatments of Class II Overbite correction.

Herbst

HERBST Mary Kay Becher DDS PA Austin TXA Herbst Appliance is a rod and tube appliance that is attached to the back molars on each side of the upper and lower jaws.  It is very effective in correcting large overbites due to small lower jaws in patients that are growing.   It is typically worn around 12 months.
The rod and tube may become disconnected if your teen opens their jaw too wide. If this happens, just have them open their mouths until they are able to slide the rod back into the tube. It is also a good idea for them to avoid popcorn, sticky and hard candies, ice, gum and nuts to keep from damaging the appliance.

Lip Bumper

A lip bumper is designed to push the lower molars back to gain space in the lower jaw and reduce crowding. Sometimes, the Lip Bumper is used to correct a “lip trap” habit.  The lip bumper will push the lower lip out a bit, and it is the pressure of the lower lip against the bumper that moves the molars back. It is important to try to eat with the lip bumper in.

Brush your teeth as well as your Lip Bumpers after every meal. When the Lip Bumpers are not in your mouth, keep them in the case provided. Never place it in your pocket or purse directly. Never wrap the Lip Bumper in napkins because they are easy to lose in the trash.  If you lose or break a Lip Bumper, call us immediately.