Braces appliances

Different Types Of Orthodontic Appliances

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Types Of Orthodontic Appliances

Orthodontic treatment plans come in many different forms and phases. Cooperating with your orthodontist ensures successful treatment. If you don’t use your orthodontic appliances as prescribed, it will be impossible to correct any teeth or jaw problems. 

But what are the different types of orthodontic appliances for correcting dental problems? This guide takes you through some of the orthodontic appliances that an orthodontist use to help patients find solutions.


Essix retainer

This alternative to braces involves the use of thin, clear aligners that look like a mouthguard, changing out every two weeks, sequentially. The objective is to achieve an incremental movement of the teeth to the right position. You have to wear them full-time every day and can only take them off when eating.

Invisalign helps to treat different orthodontic problems. This orthodontic appliance also assists in more complicated treatments by combining it with temporary implant anchorage (TADs) and sectional braces, among other forms of orthodontic techniques. These can be much easier to keep clean than traditional metal braces. Make sure to keep your invisalign or clear retainers clean.


facemask orthodontic appliance

This orthodontic appliance can be removed and is built to speed up the top jaw’s forward growth.  It helps to keep the jaw aligned and take care of any existing crossbite issues.

Elastics (Rubber Bands) 

dental rubber bands elastics

When it comes to improving your bite fit, one of the principal methods of orthodontic treatment is wearing dental elastics. These are often just called rubber bands. In the above picture the are the pink bands around the metal brackets. Although braces can help to straighten your teeth, they do not have what it takes to fix bite problems, except where elastics are involved. 

Palatal Expander

palatal expander upper jaw expander orthodontic expander

This orthodontic appliance helps to expand or widen the jaw. The palatal expander creates space for your permanent teeth and helps to fix crossbite by widening the jaw.


Braces come in different kinds and can help to correct lots of orthodontic issues. Deciding what type of braces suit your condition will depend on the assessments of your orthodontist. But here are some of them –

  • Metal Braces 

This involves directly bonding small metal brackets connected by an archwire to the teeth. They could be self-ligating brackets or twin brackets that need clear or silver elastic modules. Even if these brackets look similar, their individual designs ensure that they align with a particular tooth.

  • Self-ligating Braces 

We’ve seen lots of evolution over time in the world of braces and now we have the self-ligating orthodontic appliances like the Damon system. This gives you the benefit of friction-free, efficient dental movement, a reduction in orthodontic appointments, and the development of a dental arch that aligns with the facial structure. 

  • Clear Braces
ceramic braces

These braces come in handy for upper teeth that seem to be obvious when an individual talks and smiles.

  • Lingual Braces 
lingual braces

If you are looking for braces that are completely invisible, look no further than lingual braces. Your orthodontist can fit them to your teeth’s inside surface. Some of these braces are made in a way that they fit accurately onto every tooth on which they are placed. They promote efficient tooth movement and have lots of advantages.

Your orthodontist will let you know how often to make orthodontist appointments.


Types of dental retainers essix retainer

Once you are done with braces, it is still possible for your teeth to shift their position as time passes. This is where retainers come into play. Orthodontists may recommend retainers to ensure that your teeth stay in place without shifting back to their original position.

Space Maintainers

lower lingual holding arch space maintainer orthodontic appliance

These orthodontic appliances help to maintain or preserve dental arch spacing so that permanent teeth can erupt later on. One of the most common times when you might have to use a space maintainer is after losing a baby tooth prematurely. The tooth loss could be as a result of a permanent molar’s partial impaction or tooth decay. Keep in mind that your orthodontist will fix the space maintainers to 1 or 2 stable teeth. These passive appliances will be taken out when the teeth grow into the arch.

Spacers or Separators 

Your orthodontist will place them between your teeth with the goal of pushing them apart. Separators look like small rubber doughnuts and make it easier to place orthodontic bands during your next visit. On your next appointment, your orthodontist will take out the separators before placing the bands. Be careful with your diet when using separators as they aren’t that compatible with floss, toothpicks, and sticky foods. Dental spacers are usually done before braces. See when should your child go to the orthodontist.

Twin Block Appliance

When you compare this to other functional appliances, the twin block appliance is quite unique. What you have here are two distinct appliances that both work to achieve an advanced lower jaw position. You will have to wear the ortho appliance full time but it is user-friendly. However, it is designed in a way that makes it easy to remove for better hygiene. This is one of the most comfortable jaw correction appliances, thanks to its smooth acrylic build. In the end, the twin block appliance helps you to achieve a healthy temporomandibular joint, an improved profile, proper job function, and a great smile.


orthodontic headgear for braces

If you happen to have teeth that are in an underbite (where the lower jaw is forward) or an overbite (where the upper jaw is forward), an orthodontic headgear can help to treat the condition. Headgear does this by exerting a gentle pull on the teeth to prevent the teeth and jaw from growing forward. Here is an article all about dental headgear and the different types of orthodontic headgear.

Herbst Appliance 

Herbst appliance image

This is another orthodontic appliance that helps to tackle the problem of overbite. Your orthodontist will recommend the Herbst appliance to push your upper molars backward while encouraging your lower jaw to grow forward. Patients will have to wear this appliance for 12 to 15 months and it is mostly used in prepubescent children. 


Whatever your current orthodontic results are, you can finalize or refine them with the help of the tooth positioner. All you have to do is use them as instructed by your orthodontist. You are expected to wear it full time for the first four days to improve your chances of success.

Bite Ramps or Bite Turbos

Bite ramps of bite turbos attach to the back of the front teeth. These bite ramps help with overbite, deep bite and teeth movement.

Caring for your ortho appliances

braces care gift box

We highly recommend this dental care kit for braces to maintain good hygiene throughout your orthodontic journey.

Getting results with orthodontic appliances

This roundup of some of the most popular orthodontic appliances shows the different options that exist to help correct dental issues. Your orthodontist will conduct an examination to decide the best orthodontic appliance for you. But your chances of succeeding are higher if you cooperate with your orthodontist and follow the instructions strictly. 

Kelly Hancock, RDH

If you get your braces off and your teeth are yellow, you may also be interested in this article.- Teeth Yellow After Braces

Kelly is a registered dental hygienist and oral health care provider. She is passionate about oral hygiene and encourages people to achieve optimal oral health. She has been working in the dental profession for 16 years and worked in many different roles in the dental industry. Kelly is currently a pediatric dental hygienist specializing in children’s dentistry. She is committed to helping others with their oral health care issues and helping others achieve a smile they love.

This article and all advice on this website, Toothbrush Life, is intended to help people gain knowledge about general oral health topics. No articles or advice on this website are intended to replace professional advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your dentist or qualified healthcare provider to help you with any questions you have regarding a medical condition or treatment.

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