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Orthodontic Appliances – Parsippany, NJ

It’s About More Than Braces

Braces straighten out the teeth to facilitate eating and speaking and to enhance the appearance of your smile. Before beginning or after completing treatment with braces in Parsippany, however, children and adults alike may need to have an orthodontic appliance like an expander, tongue/thumb crib, or a retainer. These devices are used to reduce future treatment times with braces or ensure that the teeth stay where they should be after the braces have been removed. Keep reading to learn more about how each of these orthodontic appliances from our Parsippany, NJ orhtodontist work!

What Is a Retainer? How Does It Work?

Hand holding a retainer oral appliance

A retainer is a device that is used to keep the teeth in place after treatment with braces, including traditional braces and Invisalign, is complete. Without a retainer, the teeth with gradually move back into their original position. Most people will need to wear the retainer around the clock right after the braces are removed, but can gradually be reduced to nightwear only after several months. If used diligently, a retainer will keep the teeth where they should be for a lifetime after the initial treatment with braces is complete.

There are two main categories of retainers:

Removable Retainers

Patient placing a removable retainer

As their name implies, removable retainers are easy to place and remove in and from the mouth. As such, they are easy to clean. However, they do require a certain level of self-discipline if patients are to get the full benefit from them. This type of retainer should be worn at least 22 hours each day during the first few months after braces are removed. Your orthodontist will let you know when you can start wearing it less.

Fixed Retainers

Animated smile with fixed retainers

Fixed retainers are quite convenient because they are cemented into the mouth. They usually consist of a small metal bar that is placed behind the teeth (which makes them very discreet). These retainers are often used to keep the front teeth in their proper places because these teeth are the most likely to drift back out of place. You may have to wear a fixed retainer for life.

Retainer Basics

Four types of retainers

Here are some tips and guidelines to help you have a successful experience with your removable retainer:

  • If your retainer seems more snug than usual when you are placing it in your mouth, it is probably because your teeth are moving. This means you need to wear your retainer more frequently.
  • Do not wear your retainer while you are eating and brushing your teeth.
  • When you are not wearing your retainer, make sure it is stored safely in its case. Don’t wrap it in a napkin; that makes it too easy for you — or someone else — to accidentally throw it in the trash.
  • Make sure your pets won’t have any opportunities to chew on your retainer.
  • Many retainers are made with heat, which means they can become warped if they get too hot. Keep your retainers away from hot water, car dashboards, washing machines, and pockets.
  • Gently clean your retainer once each day with a soft-bristled toothbrush (no toothpaste) to remove debris. You may also want to soak your retainer in a special retainer- or denture-cleaning solution.
  • Bring your dental retainer to all your appointments at Rauchberg Dental Group.
  • Remember that retainer adjustments should only be made by your orthodontist.
  • If you accidentally lose or break your retainer, call us right away. It does not take long for teeth to shift, so we will work to replace or repair your retainer as quickly as possible.
  • Your retainer can last for many years with proper care. Keeping it in good shape can spare you the expense of paying for a replacement.

What Is a Palatal Expander? How Does It Work?

Model smile with palatal expander

The roof of the mouth is one of the most important features of your oral cavity. Its width affects everything from how your teeth look to how the TMJ (temporomandibular, or jaw, joints) function. If the palate is too narrow during childhood, there may not be enough room for the permanent teeth to erupt. A palatal expander can help — it is a stainless-steel appliance that is inserted into the roof of the mouth. The palatal expander may be used during childhood to widen the palate and improve the alignment of the bite. By exerting outward pressure on the molars and premolars, the expander encourages growth of new bone tissue in the palate. This widens the upper jaw for improved bite alignment.

What Is a Tongue/Thumb Crib? How Does It Work?

Model smile with tongue crib

Thumbsucking and tongue thrusting, or pushing the tongue through the teeth when swallowing, are two common habits during childhood. Most kids will grow out of these habits on their own, but if they don’t, thumbsucking and tongue thrusting can cause real issues for the development of the mouth that may require complex orthodontic treatment later on.

If you find it difficult to break these habits for your child, a tongue/thumb crib can help. It is a metal appliance that is affixed directly behind the teeth the prevent the forward motion of the tongue (preventing thrusting) and to block the space for the thumb (stopping thumbsucking).

Schedule an Appointment Today!

Young woman scheduling an appointment on her smartphone

Your orthodontist in Parsippany offers comprehensive treatments, including with orthodontic appliances. To learn more about why they are needed or how you can improve the alignment of your smile, please do not hesitate to get in touch with us! Schedule an appointment at Rauchberg Dental today.