About Orthodontic Appliances

Photo of actual Forster Orthodontics patient by Meri Keller, Meri Keller Photography

Photo of actual Forster Orthodontics patient by Meri Keller, Meri Keller Photography

Newport, RI – Orthodontic treatment consists of several appliances that are used to help achieve a straight, healthy functioning smile. Understanding them all can be confusing. Dr. Matt Forster of Forster Orthodontics explains some of the appliances you may hear about so your decisions on your child’s orthodontic treatment can be as informed as possible.


Elastics are common among children in orthodontic treatment. They are tiny rubber bands that are used to help correct a bite issue. Braces can be very effective in straightening your teeth, but they cannot fix the bite. Rubber bands are placed on brackets connecting the upper jaw and lower jaw to help guide the jaw to its proper location.


Palatal expanders correct jaw issues by creating additional space in the upper jaw. Expanders apply gentle pressure on the upper molars, widening the jaw. Once the desired outcome is reached, the patient will need to continue wearing the palatal expander to ensure the integrity of the expansion.


Forsus Springs can help correct severe overbites where the upper teeth protrude far over the lower teeth. They are very similar to traditional elastics. The orthodontist places the Forsus Springs during treatment and cannot be removed by the patient.


Space maintainers keep space in the patient’s mouth when a primary tooth is lost prematurely or if it is removed to make room for permanent teeth. They prevent the back molars from shifting while the other permanent teeth erupt.


Separators (or spacers) are small rings placed between teeth to allow for band placement. The separator works to create just enough space between teeth to allow for the bands to be placed and are removed before your orthodontist puts in the bands.


A Williams Appliance is a fixed appliance that can be used to widen the lower arch. Severe crowding issues can be improved with the expansion, and a space maintainer is typically placed until all baby teeth are lost.


A Carriere Appliance works to correct a bite without removing permanent teeth in patients if teeth have erupted incorrectly. The appliance works similarly to headgear, without the need of a bulky appliance.


Whether you complete orthodontic treatment with braces or Invisalign, you will continue to wear your retainers to prevent your teeth from shifting. They can be fixed or removable and should be worn exactly as the orthodontist recommends to ensure your new smile lasts!

“These are some examples of the common appliances you might hear about in an orthodontist’s office,” says Dr. Forster. “If you ever have questions about orthodontic treatment, the appliances we use, or how to care for them, don’t hesitate to ask. We strive for complete transparency with our patients on their treatment, every step of the way. We would love to take time and talk with you.”

To learn more about orthodontic appliances that can help your child’s bite, call Forster Orthodontics for a free consultation today at 401-619-1888.

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