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Common Appliances



expanders-bothThis palatal expander device, sometimes called a “spreader” will widen your upper jaw and allow more room for the teeth to erupt into the mouth. Expansion is also used to correct a cross-bite. This is when the upper jaw bites inside the lower jaw.

In certain situations a palatal expander can help avoid the need to have permanent teeth removed (bicuspid teeth). Fixed expanders are glued in and can not be taken in and out by the patient. The expander is generally worn for four months to accomplish this correction.



Removable expanders act just like fixed expanders, but can be taken in and out of the mouth during treatment. Treatment time with a removable expander versus a fixed expander generally takes longer.

In order for your treatment to proceed properly, someone must adjust (turn) the screw located on the appliance. We will provide you with a key, and show you how to activate the appliance. We will specify the number of turns (activation’s) needed to reach our objective. The best time to activate your expander is first thing in the morning. If you ever have any difficulty with turning the appliance, please call the office immediately. If you are in doubt of the number of turns you should complete, call us right away.

Sagittal Appliance


sagittal-lower01Sagittal Appliances (Active Plates) can be custom designed for many different functions and combinations of functions/ movements.

Distal Jet

The Distal Jet appliance moves upper teeth back to correct a “Class II” bite problem. It moves teeth faster and more predictably than the traditional headgear. Best of all, the distal jet is worn in the mouth, not a big bulky headgear and facebow. It is painless, comfortable, and since it is cemented into place, it is working for you 24 hours a day!


maraThis appliance is very effective in correcting large overbites due to small lower jaws in patients who are growing. It is used to enhance the growth of the lower jaw in a forward direction while at the same time applying pressure to the upper jaw in a backwards direction.

One of the most common problems orthodontics treats 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 MARA appliance help this happen.

Even though the MARA appliance prevents the lower jaw from moving backward, opening and closing movements still occur easily, and patients do not have any problems learning to chew their food with their lower jaw in this new position.

Your MARA 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.

Space Maintainers

These various forms of fixed appliances can maintain arch length and potentially avoid unnecessary removal of adult teeth.

Lip Bumper

What is a Lip Bumper?

Figure 1
Figure 2

The lip bumper (Figure 1) is a removable appliance used in growing children to create and save the space necessary to accommodate the adult teeth without extraction.

In younger children, crowding of the lower teeth is common. If not treated, this could lead to the extraction of permanent teeth. Many times, removing adult teeth can adversely effect your child’s profile and lead to a “sunken-in” appearance of the face.

The lip bumper harnesses the natural forces of the muscles surrounding the lower teeth to broaden and lengthen the dental arch. By keeping the lip pressure away from the lower front teeth, the tongue pressure is allowed to gradually move the front teeth forward to “unravel” or align the crooked teeth. The constant pressure of the lower lip against the front pad of the lip bumper exerts a force to gently push the molar teeth backward. The lip bumper will gradually “stretch” the dental arch to make room for the erupting adult teeth. (Figure 2)

The lip bumper is a comfortable and easy appliance for your child to wear, and should be worn 24 hours a day. It may be removed only when brushing and flossing. Usually the lip bumper is worn for approximately 9 to 18 months although the length of treatment can vary depending on factors such as the severity of crowding and the rate of each child’s growth and development.

The lip bumper may be used with other Phase I appliances when indicated. The initiation of lip bumper therapy can prevent the need for more invasive procedures such as permanent tooth extraction.

Other Common Appliances