ELASTICS (RUBBER BANDS)
Wearing elastics (or rubber bands) improves the fit of your upper and lower teeth. Wear rubber bands as instructed, and remember that the rubber bands work far more efficiently if they're worn as prescribed.
Bands are metal rings that go around your teeth. They are stronger than braces and are used as part of some appliances, such as palatal expanders.
We use removable appliances to help with growth of the jaws during the formative years to allow for maximum esthetics and ideal bite. There are different kinds of functional appliances, a common one we use is called Twin Block, and they are typically worn for 6-9 months. This type of treatment will reduce the severity, duration and cost of full orthodontic treatment later on.
In patients who have a deficiency in 'midface', we can help with growth of the jaws. Ideally around age 8-9, we can use a facemask appliance that is worn at nights to help with growth of the upper jaw. This appliance is typically worn for 9-12 months and can reduce the chance that our patients will need jaw surgery as adults.
The palatal expander "expands" (or widens) your upper jaw by putting gentle pressure on your upper molars each time an adjustment is made. Dr. Shojaei will instruct you about when and how 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.
Retainers may be removable or fixed. They hold your teeth in their new, correct positions after your teeth have been straightened. Dr. Shojaei will instruct you on how to care for your retainer and about the duration of the wear. Wearing your retainer as directed is crucial to prevent regression of your treatment.
We encourage patients to stop sucking their thumbs/fingers after the age of 5 years. There are some strategies we can teach you to be able to do this on your own. However, if additional help is required, we will temporarily cement a Crib appliance on the top teeth to help remind the patient to stop the sucking habit. This appliance is kept in for 3-6 months and works very well. Stopping this habit will allow the jaws and teeth to develop and grow normally and reduces the need for future treatment.
SEPARATORS OR SPACERS
Separators are little rubber doughnuts that may be placed between your teeth to push them apart so that orthodontic bands may be placed during your next appointment. The separators will be removed before we place the bands. Separators do not mix well with sticky foods, toothpicks, or floss. Using separators will help make your next appointment more comfortable.