Hawley Removable Retainers | Essix Retainers | Fixed Retainer | Palatal Expander | Lingual Arch | Nance Appliance | Headgear | Reverse Pull Headgear | Herbst Appliance | Crossbow | Forsus Appliance
Distal Jet Appliance | Pendulum Appliance | Pendex Appliance | Habit Breaking Appliance

Hawley Removable Retainers


Once your braces are removed, we will provide you with a set of retainers to help keep your teeth in their corrected position. At that time our office will give you instructions regarding retainer wear. Wearing a retainer is a vital part of your orthodontic treatment as it prevents the teeth from shifting back to their original positions. Wearing your retainer on a regular basis at night for life is the best guarantee to keep your teeth straight.

If you have any problems with your retainer, including losing it or breaking it, please call us as soon as possible. It is important to visit us for scheduled retainer checks so we can inspect your retainer and order a new one if necessary. The retainer checks are included in the original treatment cost.

Retainer Care

  • Take your retainer out when eating and immediately put it in the retainer case! (The majority of retainers are lost in school lunch rooms or restaurants when they are set on trays or in napkins and thrown away by accident.)
  • Clean your retainer thoroughly with a toothbrush, toothpaste (or liquid soap) and room temperature water after every meal. Brushing your retainer is the best method to remove plaque and eliminate odors. You can also soak your retainer for 15 minutes in a solution for cleaning retainers – this will help remove any plaque buildup.
  • When retainers are not in your mouth they should ALWAYS be in a retainer case. They can easily be lost and pets love to chew on them!
  • Keep retainers away from hot water, hot car dashboards and the washing machine, as heat will damage your retainer.
  • Please treat your retainer with care – it is breakable! If your retainer is lost or broken, please call us immediately.

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Essix Retainer

An essix retainer is a clear plastic appliance used to hold teeth in their aligned position after orthodontic treatment. An essix retainer can also be used to improve alignment of slightly malpositioned teeth. However, due to its thin plastic material, the essix retainer is not the most durable retainer.

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Fixed Retainer

A fixed retainer is a wire bonded to the tongue side of the front teeth. A fixed retainer may be recommended in addition to or instead of a removable retainer to ensure the front teeth stay aligned.

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Palatal Expander

A palatal expander is an orthodontic device used to widen a narrow upper jaw in order to correct a crossbite or create space. It is 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 we provide, gradual outward pressure is placed on the left and right halves of the upper jaw. This pressure expands the upper jaw, ultimately resulting in an increased width and bite correction. Palatal expanders vary in design depending on the patient's specific bite problem.

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Lingual Arch

A lingual arch acts as a space maintainer in the lower arch to keep the molars from drifting forward, and prevent them from blocking the space where permanent teeth will eventually erupt. This appliance is commonly used in cases of premature loss of baby tooth or when the lower teeth of a growing child are slightly crowded and no permanent teeth are extracted to correct the problem.

The duration of wear varies. We will monitor the eruption of new teeth and make adjustments. Generally, the lingual Arch is removed following the eruption of all the permanent teeth.

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Nance Appliance

The nance appliance is a space maintainer in the upper arch. Some patients wear the nance appliance while they are awaiting their bicuspids to grow into place.

The appliance is made of two bands that are cemented onto the upper posterior teeth and a wire spans the roof of the mouth from one molar to the other. An acrylic pad or “button” covers the wire that touches the roof of your mouth directly behind your front teeth.

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Headgear is often used to correct overbite. Headgear most often has a neck or head strap and a facebow. The facebow is attached to headgear tubes on the back teeth. Using your neck or head as an anchor, the strap and facebow put pressure on the upper jaw and teeth to slow growth of the upper jaw while the lower jaw grows forward.

The severity of the problem determines which type of headgear is recommended and the length of time headgear needs to be worn. The key to success with your headgear appliance is consistency. Headgear must be worn a certain number of hours per day and will feel more comfortable as you get used to wearing it. Headgear typically is worn in the house and sleeping and should be removed while eating or brushing your teeth.

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Reverse Pull Headgear

A reverse pull headgear treats underbite by applying force to the upper jaw and pulling it forward. The reverse pull headgear is typically attached to a palatal expander in the mouth by elastics and is worn in the house and sleeping. The key to success with the reverse pull headgear is consistency.

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Herbst Appliance

Herbst is an appliance that corrects excessive overbite.The Herbst appliance attempts to stimulate lower jaw growth in patients whose lower jaw has not grown as far forward as the upper jaw. In reality, the Herbst appliance probably restrains the upper jaw as it grows similar to a headgear, while also trying to stimulate lower jaw growth.

The benefit of the Herbst appliance is that is fixed in the mouth, theoretically working all the time. However, if the patient is not careful with the Herbst appliance it can break or come loose. Patients with Herbst appliances need to be careful about what they eat. For instance, sticky foods such as caramels, bubble gum and candy suckers will pull the brace away from the teeth. Hard foods like crisp vegetables and hard candies will bend and loosen the Herbst appliance, too. Your Herbst appliance will be checked and adjusted at your appointments. If, sometimes between appointments, you develop some sore areas on the inside of your cheeks, please do not try to adjust the appliance yourself. Call for an appointment so that the necessary adjustments can be made.

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The crossbow is an orthodontic appliance comprised of a palatal expander and a lower lingual arch connected by pushrods and compressed coils. The appliance corrects overbite by pushing the top jaw and teeth backward and pushing the bottom jaw and teeth forward. The benefit of the crossbow is that the coils are working continuously, not requiring patient cooperation. The crossbow, however, can break and become loose if the patient is not careful.

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Forsus Appliance

The Forsus appliance is used in order to help move the upper molars back while moving the lower arch forward to reduce overbite. Composed of a compressed coil and a push rod, the appliance is used while a patient is currently wearing braces. It runs from the upper first molar band down to the lower archwire.

You may notice some discomfort initially, so we recommend a soft food diet for the first few days after the appliance is placed. It is important to keep the appliance clean; you may do this by carefully brushing the coil and other metal pieces of the appliance. Also, we recommend that patients not open their mouths very wide, as the appliance may come apart.

If your Forsus appliance breaks, please contact our office immediately to schedule a repair appointment.

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Distal Jet Appliance

The distal jet appliance is a fixed palatal appliance that is used to move upper teeth backward similar to a headgear. By pushing molars back, the distal jet can improve overbite. A distal jet consists of a palatal acrylic button and two compressed coils which move the upper molars back. The appliance uses the roof of the mouth as an anchor.

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Pendulum Appliance

The pendulum appliance is also used to to move upper molars back, similar to a distal jet. The pendulum appliance consists of a plastic “button” that touches the roof of the mouth and resilient wire springs that act in a broad swinging arc to move the molars back. The appliance uses the roof of the mouth as an anchor to move the molars back into their correct positions.

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Pendex Appliance

The Pendex Appliance is a Pendulum Appliance that uses an expansion screw to widen the upper jaw while also pushing molars back to correct the patient’s bite.

The Pendex Appliance consists of a plastic “button” that touches the roof of the mouth. Within this button, there is a keyhole where you are to place the key and turn it according to your orthodontist’s instructions. This turning will widen the appliance, thus widening your upper palate. Patients usually wear this appliance for three to six months.

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Habit breaking appliance

Prolonged thumb and or finger sucking that persists beyond six or seven years old can cause improper growth of the upper and lower jaws often resulting in an open bite and procumbent front teeth.

If the child cannot stop sucking on their own, one solution is an appliance called a "fixed palatal crib." This appliance is placed behind the upper teeth on the roof of the mouth. The crib consists of semicircular stainless steel wires that are fastened to molars using steel bands. The stainless steel wires fit behind the child's upper front teeth and they are barely visible. The crib usually stops the habit of thumb sucking.

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