Different Types of Appliances

for Orthodontic Treatments

Dental appliances are used to help improve the alignment and function of your teeth. They are commonly recommended in orthodontic treatments, where they can apply gentle pressure to move teeth into their proper position. There are different types of appliances, each with its unique purpose and function.

Elastic (Rubber Bands)

Elastic or rubber bands are small, stretchy loops that work together with braces. Dentists attach rubber bands to hooks on the brackets of the braces, and they work by applying pressure on specific areas of the teeth to move them into proper alignment. Depending on the patient's orthodontic treatment needs, these bands come in various sizes and strengths.


The Forsus Fatigue Resistant Device is a fixed appliance to correct overbites. It consists of two metal rods, one on each side of the mouth, connected by a spring. This device applies gentle pressure to the lower jaw, helping it to move forward and correct the overbite.


Headgear is a removable appliance used to correct overbites and underbites. It consists of an external wire apparatus, also known as a facebow, that attaches to metal or plastic headgear straps, which you place around the back of your head or neck. It works by exerting pressure on the upper jaw and helps it align with the lower jaw.

Herbst® Appliance

The Herbst® appliance is a fixed appliance that can also move the lower jaw forward and the upper molars backward. It consists of metal arms attached to the upper and lower molars, with a connecting rod or tube between them. Younger, growing children use this fixed appliance, and they wear it for about 12-15 months.

Palatal Expander

A palatal expander is a removable or fixed appliance that widens the upper jaw. It comes with a screw in the middle, which an orthodontist turns to gradually widen the expander. Children with narrow palates commonly use this appliance to create more space for proper tooth alignment. When you achieve the desired expansion, you'll have to wear the appliance for several months to secure the expansion and prevent regression.


Positioners are removable appliances commonly worn after orthodontists remove your braces. They help secure teeth in their new position and prevent them from shifting back. Positioners consist of clear plastic, and patients must wear them for a certain amount each day.


You use retainers after your orthodontist removes your braces, and they also come as removable or fixed appliances. They secure your teeth into their new position and prevent them from shifting back. Depending on your needs, retainers can come from wire and plastic or clear plastic.

Separators or Spacers

Separators or spacers are small elastic rings that your orthodontist places between your teeth to create space for bands. They can cause slight discomfort, and you typically use them before you get braces. These separators must be in place for a few days before placing orthodontic bands

Twin Block Appliance

The twin block appliance is a removable appliance that can correct overbites. It consists of two pieces, one fitted for the upper arch and one for the lower arch. These pieces work together to encourage the lower jaw to move forward and correct the overbite.

You need to wear them full-time, even when eating. However, you can remove them for easy hygiene. It's also more comfortable than other jaw-correcting appliances, as it comes from smooth acrylic and only has fewer wires.

MARA Appliance

The MARA (Mandibular Anterior Repositioning Appliance) is a fixed appliance that corrects severe overbites. It consists of metal bars on the upper and lower teeth, with a small tube in the middle to help the lower jaw move forward and correct the overbite. Orthodontists are the only ones who can remove the upper attachments to adjust according to your treatment plan.

Considering Orthodontic Treatment in Columbia, SC? Contact Us for an Informed Decision

If you are considering orthodontic treatment, it is essential to consult with a qualified and experienced orthodontist to determine the best appliance for your unique needs. Our practice offers a wide range of appliances and personalized treatment plans to help you achieve a healthy, beautiful smile.

Contact us now to schedule your consultation!