Types of Appliances

Rubber Bands

elastices.gifWe may ask you to wear elastics of various configurations on braces. It is an essential part of treatment, and success depends on patient cooperation.

Why are they used? They add an extra force to the braces to help move the teeth. For example, if the upper teeth are too far forward and the lower teeth are too far back, rubber bands may be stretched from the upper front teeth to the lower back teeth.

When are they worn? They are worn usually at all times except when eating or brushing. Part-time wear may be recommended. Dr. Allen will determine a schedule. It is important to be consistent. The elastics will not work as well if they are not in place each day.

When are they changed? Elastics are replaced at least once each day or they will lose their snap. Be sure to pick up plenty at the office. A few days without them can cause a serious setback.

Are there different sizes? There are many sizes, each designed for a specific purpose. Wear only the size provided.

What can be expected? The teeth may become sore when elastics are first used. This soreness will be gone in a few days. The teeth may become loose; that is a normal reaction to the elastic force. Expect to see progress.

Why are they important? They have to be worn if the treatment is to be successful. The patient must help with this part of treatment in a substantial way if there is to be progress. It requires hard work, even though elastics are not comfortable. If elastics are worn one day and left off the next, your teeth will set up resistance that will slow or even stop your progress. Discomfort in your mouth will increase. If elastics are worn one week and left off one day, your teeth could shift back to their original position.

What is your responsibility at each appointment? At each appointment, check that you have sufficient elastics to last until the next appointment. If you run out of elastics, call immediately. Never wait until the next appointment. We will mail them to you if it is impossible to pick them up at the office. Always be sure you understand exactly where each elastic hooks in the mouth.


What does it do? It helps correct an excessive overbite by placing pressure against the upper teeth and jaw to hold the teeth in position or help move them back into better positions. It can also be used as an “orthopedic” appliance, helping control the growth of the jaws by “holding” the upper jaw and allowing the lower jaw to grow forward. The pressure used and time worn depends upon the severity of the problem. Orthopedic changes take place over an extended time period while the patient is growing. To produce a successful treatment result, the headgear must be worn every night.

Headgear is a device with two parts: a soft strap with springs or elastics attached to it and a metal part, called a facebow, that fits into the bands or onto the archwires. A headgear adds extra force to the braces as they move the teeth.

headgear.gifHow does it work? By using your neck or head as an anchor, the strap or elastic bands produce a steady pressure that gradually aligns the protruding upper jaw and teeth with the lower jaw and teeth. The headgear can work by slowing the growth of the upper jaw, allowing the lower jaw time to catch up.

How long will it be worn? The headgear is usually worn over a year or more to correct an excessive overbite. If it is being used to hold the back teeth in place, it will usually be worn for only a portion of the total treatment time.

How often should it be worn? The more it is worn the faster the teeth move. Dr. Allen will recommend the correct number of hours. Once headgear treatment is started, it must be adhered to continuously. The key to success with your headgear is consistency.

When is it not to be worn?
The headgear should never be worn during any active sport or activity such as swimming, soccer or dancing. It should be removed while eating or brushing your teeth.

Please bring your headgear to your adjustment appointments.


The Forsus appliance is used in order to help move the upper molars back while moving the lower arch forward. Composed of a spring coil rod, the appliance is used while a patient is currently wearing braces. It runs from the upper first molar band down to the lower archwire.

You may notice some discomfort initially, so we recommend a soft food diet for the first few days after the appliance is placed. Regular anti-inflammatory medication may help with any pain, if needed. It is important to keep the appliance clean; you may do this by carefully brushing the coil and other metal pieces of the appliance. Also, we recommend that patients not open their mouths very wide, as the appliance may come apart.

If your Forsus appliance breaks, please contact our office immediately to schedule a repair appointment.


One of the many important advances in orthodontics has been the development of temporary anchorage devices, or TADs. Made of 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. TADs can help Dr. Allen move severely angled, impacted or ankylosed (fused to bone) teeth. They are also helpful in achieving orthodontic movement in a mouth with missing teeth.


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.