Orthodontic Fact #2 A brace is one type of dental appliance that an orthodontist can use depending on the patient’s needs. Other appliances may be suggested to treat a specific jaw or mouth deformity.

dental appliance

Braces are only one type of appliance an orthodontist may use on a patient’s teeth. They are used to straighten teeth and help with a misaligned bite, for example an overbite. They are most often made of metal. The metal brackets are bonded to the patient’s affected teeth and wires are used to connect the brackets. The wires are tightened to put pressure on teeth so that they will slowly move to the correct positions. An alternative to conventional braces is invisalign. Invisalign is a good choice for more minor teeth straightening. Some people prefer them because they cannot easily be seen by others.


Spacers are little plastic rings that are inserted between your back teeth. This is done prior to having your brace brackets put on to make room between the teeth.

Spring Jet

A spring jet is a fixed appliance designed to help align your bite and dental arches. It has a spring that connects to bands on your back teeth.

Quad Helix

The quad helix is attached to your back teeth by bands. It has four helix springs that are activated before being inserted. The device is used to widen the jaw to make more room for crowded teeth.

Palatal Expander

A palatal expander is used to separate the bone on the upper part of the mouth. Prior to about age 16, the bones have not yet fused, making it easier to separate. This is done to make more room in the upper jaw. It is installed in the mouth and a screw is turned to create a tiny expansion each day. It works over a matter of weeks or months of gentle expansion.


Retainers are used after the braces are taken off of the teeth. It is used to keep the teeth in place while they settle into their new position. Retainers can be removable or bonded behind the teeth for a semi-permanent solution. They are often made out of plastic with metal wires but may also be made from rubber materials.

An orthodontist has a wide variety of appliances available to treat patients. Patients differing needs require specialized treatments and appliances. Contact Marin Ortho for a consultation today.