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Types of Appliances

elastics (rubber bands)

Elastics (Rubber Bands)

Elastics (or rubber bands) improve the fit of your upper and lower teeth. Wear rubber bands as instructed, and remember they work far more efficiently if they’re worn as prescribed.




The Forsus Fatigue-Resistant Device is an alternative to headgear which promotes growth in adolescents and helps to eliminate excessive overbites, improve the fit of teeth, and potentially prevent the need for jaw surgery.




Headgear is used to treat patients whose teeth are in an overbite, with the upper jaw forward of the lower jaw, or an underbite with the lower jaw forward of the upper jaw. Headgear gently “pulls” on your teeth to restrict further forward growth of your upper teeth and jaw.


herbst appliance

Herbst® Appliance

The Herbst® appliance reduces overbite by encouraging the lower jaw forward and the upper molars backward. This fixed appliance is used mostly for younger, growing children and is worn for about 12 to 15 months.


palatal expander

Palatal Expander

The palatal expander “expands” (or widens) your upper jaw by putting gentle pressure on your upper molars each time an adjustment is made. Dr. McKenna 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.




Positioners complete the final tooth movements in your orthodontic treatment. With your full cooperation, you should only need to wear the positioner appliance for four to eight weeks.




Retainers may be removable or fixed. They hold your teeth in their new, correct positions after they have been straightened. We 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.



Separators or Spacers

Separators are little rubber doughnuts that may be placed between your teeth to push them apart so 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.


Twin Block Appliance

The twin block appliance is unique from other functional appliances, because it involves two separate appliances (one for the upper arch and one for the lower arch) that work together to create an advanced lower jaw position. This patient-friendly appliance is worn full time, including while eating, though it is removable for easy hygiene. It is also more comfortable than other jaw-correcting appliances, since it is made of smooth acrylic and utilizes fewer wires.

The result of using a twin block appliance is a broad, beautiful smile, proper jaw function, improved profile, and a stable and healthy temporomandibular joint.