While braces may be what first pops into your head when discussing orthodontics, there’s a whole world of other appliances that may become important for your or your loved one’s orthodontic treatment plan here at DeMaio Orthodontics. Our goal is always to leave patients with highly successful and lasting improvements that stand the test of time! To learn more about these appliances or schedule a first appointment with Dr. DeMaio, just contact us in Greenfield, Northampton, or Amherst.
These orthodontic appliances could be recommended before, during, or after traditional treatment with braces – it just depends on each smile’s unique situation. Rest assured that Dr. DeMaio will always explain these recommendations clearly and concisely with patients and/or parents so that everyone feels confident that it’s the best decision. Here are a few of the common devices we use:
Once braces are removed from the mouth, it’s an unfortunate reality that teeth are likely to try and stray back towards their initial homes. That’s where a custom-made retainer comes in! Removable retainers are designed to be taken in and out of the mouth, although they should be worn all day and night for at least the first few months following treatment. Then, switching to just nightly use is strongly recommended by our team.
Keeping up with a removable retainer can prove difficult for some patients, which is why they opt for a permanent version instead. This style of retainer is sturdily affixed to the teeth, which means it won’t ever be forgotten. However, it can be more difficult to keep the teeth clean with a fixed retainer because the device is not very “floss-friendly.”
The Lingual Holding Appliance (also known simply as an LLHA) is designed to hold space open in the lower arch of the mouth so that the molars can erupt correctly as children grow. The device features stainless steel rings that fit over the “baby” molars and a wire that connects them by passing the inside surfaces of the teeth. Patients may experience some mild speech impediment when first wearing it because of the way it obstructs the tongue, but this should pass in just a few days.
Palatal expanders are used for dentofacial orthopedics, and their primary goal is to gradually widen the patient’s upper jaw. Dr. DeMaio strongly recommends that patients in need of this type of treatment receive their palatal expander by the age of 15 or sooner, as the jawbone will still be malleable at this stage of development. Over time, the device will create spaces between the front teeth which traditional braces will correct in turn.
While thumb-sucking is harmless for infants and toddlers, it’s important for children to break the habit once they reach older ages. The bones around the front teeth can start to deform as a result, causing an open bite. A Bluegrass™ “thumb crib” is a special type of appliance that prevents children from directly touching their gum tissue or the roof of their mouth. It will make thumb-sucking feel unpleasant, hopefully leading to a quick shift in their routine.