Types of Appliances


Separators are small doughnut shaped (blue) rubber bands used to create space between teeth to allow us to fit the metal bands around your teeth at the next appointment.

RPE (Rapid Palatal Expander)

Your expander is a special appliance that widens the roof of your mouth by gently separating the suture in the center of your palate. This is done to expand the upper jaw for a proper fit with the lower jaw, and/or to make room for crowded teeth. It usually takes about two to four weeks to achieve the desired expansion. The appliance, however, usually remains in place much longer while the new bone fills into your expanded arch.

Lip Bumper

A Lip Bumper is designed to make room for your permanent teeth, and uses the pressure of your lips to expand and create space along the lower arch. This will help the doctor eliminate much of the crowding in your lower teeth. Normally, a lip bumper is worn all the time. It is comfortable to wear and does not interfere with the lip or it's motion while speaking or eating. 


Headgear is used to treat our younger patients whose teeth are in an underbite with the lower jaw forward of the upper jaw. Headgear gently encourages forward growth of your top jaw and can prevent skeletal discrepancies and/or deformities from occuring once growth ceases. Your headgear needs to be worn 12 hours a day to do its job. You can wear this appliance after dinner in addition to when you are sleeping.  

Bite Plate and/or Bite Turbos

Patients that wear a bite plate or bite turbos have upper and lower teeth that overlap too far vertically, in what we call a deep over bite. This overlapping of teeth prevents us from putting braces on the lower teeth. A bite plate or bite turbos are worn 24 hours a day to keep your teeth apart, allowing the back teeth to erupt slightly for permanent overbite correction. 

Bite Jumpers

A bite jumper is a fixed appliance designed to encourage the growth of the lower jaw in a forward direction. It also applies pressure to the upper jaw in a reverse or backwards direction. This movement is needed to ensure that the upper and lower teeth fit together properly as they are straightened in their respective arches.

Tongue Trainers

Tongue trainers are small braces that are placed on the back of the top and/or bottom teeth to help remind us to keep our tongue off the teeth. Generally used when we have a habit of placing our tongue in the wrong position during swallowing, either too far forward or to the sides.

Elastics (rubber bands)

Elastics are placed to specifically align one arch to another. Wearing your elastics as instructed will help you finish orthodontic treatment within the estimated treatment time. Not wearing the elastics will extend the treatment and compromise the result!


The retainer is a removable appliance designed to maintain the teeth in their correct positions. It is important that it be worn according to instructions. Remember, retainers are FOREVER!

Hawley retainer- is made of special acrylic material. The acrylic covers the palate and has a small metal wire that is designed to fit comfortably across the front teeth.

Essix retainer- is made of a special clear thin plastic. It is made to fit over the teeth and is smaller than regular retainers. They are almost invisible and comfortable to wear. 

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