RAPID PALATAL EXPANDER
Attached to the upper molars through bonding or by cemented bands, the Rapid Palatal Expander is an orthodontic device used to create a wider space in the upper jaw. It is typically used when the upper jaw is too narrow for the lower jaw or when the upper teeth are crowded or blocked out of the dental arch.
When patients are still growing, their connective tissue between the left and right halves of their upper jaw is very responsive to expansion. By simply activating the expander through turning a screw in the center, with a special key we provide, gradual outward pressure is placed on the left and right halves of the upper jaw. This pressure causes an increased amount of bone to grow between the right and left halves of the jaw, ultimately resulting in an increased width.
One of the most common problems orthodontics treat is the discrepancy that occurs when the upper teeth protrude beyond the lower. Ordinarily, when we see a patient with the upper teeth protruding, we tend to think that the upper jaw and teeth are too far forward; but, more often than not, this condition is due to a small lower jaw that is further back than it should be. With these patients, we would like to encourage the lower jaw to catch up in growth, and braces like the Herbst appliance help this happen.
Even though the Herbst appliance prevents the lower jaw from moving backward, opening and closing movement still occur easily, and patients do not have any problems learning to chew their food with their lower jaw in this new position.
As with all kinds of braces, patients with Herbst appliances need to be careful about what they eat. For instance, cold foods such as ice slushes, Popsicles and ice will freeze the cement and make the brace loosen. Sticky foods such as caramels, bubble gum and candy suckers will pull the brace away from the teeth. Hard foods like crisp vegetables and hard candies will bend and loosen the Herbst appliance, too. So stay away from these foods during your orthodontic treatment.
Your Herbst appliance will be checked and adjusted at your appointments. If, sometimes between appointments, you develop some sore areas on the inside of your cheeks, please do not try to adjust the appliance yourself. Call for an appointment so that the necessary adjustments can be made.
Wearing an Herbst Appliance
At first, your mouth will feel unusually full and speaking will be awkward. But if you practice reading aloud, your ordinary speech will return quickly. You may also notice more saliva than normal, but this will decrease as you become accustomed to the appliance.
TEMPORARY ANCHORAGE DEVICES (TADS)
One of the many important advances in orthodontics has been the development of temporary anchorage devices, or TADs. Made of a bio-compatible titanium alloy, TADs are miniscrew anchors which are inserted into specific places in the mouth to be used as a fixed point from which teeth can move. Before TADs, orthodontists who wanted to move some teeth while keeping others still, or to achieve orthodontic movement in a mouth with missing teeth, had to rely on headgear for their fixed point. But TADs now provide an option for that fixed point that is smaller, more discrete, more efficient and requires significantly less work for the patient.
Temporary anchorage devices may not be recommended for everyone, and in fact, anchorage devices at all may not be needed in all cases. Contact us if you’d like to know more about TADs and how they can potentially prevent you from needing orthodontic headgear.