Applied in order to prevent bad habits such as finger and thumb sucking, Habit appliances are specially designed devices that can effectively assist in eliminating these behaviors. The normal tooth-growing process can be disturbed by these habits and cause teeth to grow in crooked. Available as both permanent and removable, Habit appliances are only slightly uncomfortable during the first couple of days of adjustment.
A retainer is a device made of plastic and metal. It is designed to maintain the position of your teeth, or slightly adjust their position. Most people who receive orthodontic treatment use retainers. Retainers are custom made for each patient, and are fully removable by the patient. Your doctor will let you know how long you’ll be using a retainer, as well as when to put it in or out. Retainers can also be used for other tongue and jaw related conditions. Your dentist will let you know when and if a retainer is necessary, and will instruct you on care and maintenance of the device.
We place tongue training wires on the lower teeth. The purpose of these wires is to discourage the forward posturing of the tongue (“tongue thrust”) which contributes to the vertical space between the upper and lower front teeth, known as an open bite.
To help you adjust to them, please cover these wires with the wax we have given you for at least the first 48 hours. It is important to dry off the wires with tissue to help the wax stay in place. It is all right to continue using the wax longer than the first two days. Please be careful not to bite into any hard foods and avoid sticky candy or bubble gum (one stick of sugar free gum at a time is OK). These foods can bend and break the tongue wires, resulting in extra appointments to make new wires. You may wish to eat softer foods and take smaller bites the first few days. Your speech may take one to two days to adapt to the new wires. Practice reading out loud at home and repeat any words that your new tongue position has difficulty making.
A palatal expander is a device designed to help a child take full advantage of his or her own natural growth process to treat or even prevent malocclusions (“bad bites”). Palatal expanders create more space in a child's mouth by gradually widening the upper jaw. Although this may sound scary, it's really quite easy — both to do and to tolerate. That's because the upper jaw actually develops as two separate halves that don't completely fuse together until sometime after puberty. Before that happens, the two bones can gently be separated and stabilized over a period of several months.