Types Of Orthodontic Appliances

Dawsonville, GA


A palatal expander, also known as an orthodontic expander, is used to “expand” or widen the upper jaw so that the bottom and upper teeth will fit together better. Expanders work by putting gentle pressure on your upper molars each time an adjustment is made. Your orthodontist will instruct you about when and how to adjust your expander. When you achieve the desired expansion, you will wear the appliance for several months to solidify the expansion and prevent regression.


When you have an overbite, it’s essential that you take action with corrective treatment to not suffer from jaw pain down the road. The Forsus appliance is a discreet alternative to headgear that works with your braces to correct your bite and improve your oral health. This system allows you a greater range of motion, and instead of taking your headgear on and off, Forsus is a permanent fixture that constantly works throughout your treatment.

Herbst Appliance

The Herbst appliance corrects overbites and underdeveloped lower jaws. It also improves facial profiles by increasing lower jaw growth. The appliance is placed on the upper and lower teeth and stays there until the bite is corrected (10-15 months). Fully contained within your mouth, it doesn’t show and works for you 24 hours a day.


Mouthguards are a popular appliance that is used to protect your mouth from injury when you are participating in sports. The use of a mouth guard is especially important for orthodontic patients, to prevent injuries or damage to appliances.

Space Maintainers

Your smile may need a little help before it’s ready for braces, so we use space maintainers, or spacers, to create extra space between certain teeth. With traditional braces, we anchor the stainless-steel wire to a metal band placed on the back teeth. However, these teeth are naturally close together, which is why spacers are sometimes required. Spacers are little rubber doughnuts that may be placed between your teeth to push them apart so that orthodontic bands may be placed during your next appointment. The spacers will be removed before we place the bands. Spacers do not mix well with sticky foods, toothpicks, or floss.


You’ve worked hard to achieve a beautiful smile, so it’s important to properly maintain it once you finish braces or Invisalign. This is where retainers come into play. Retainers are orthodontic appliances that are necessary to hold the teeth in place in order to prevent them from shifting after orthodontic treatment. Each type of retainer is custom-made for maintaining your beautiful smile, and Dr. Gass will help you select the best retainer option for your treatment plan.

Essix Retainers

Similar to Invisalign aligners, these retainers are made from clear plastic and designed to be discreet and removeable. Essix retainers are made from digital scans taken on your smile after treatment.

Hawley Retainers

Hawley retainers are also removeable, however, they are made from plastic and metal rather than clear plastic. These retainers are custom-molded to fit your teeth and mouth. Wires sit over your front teeth while loops near your canines can be adjusted once your teeth settle to their final positions.

Fixed Retainers

Fixed, or permanent retainers, are meant to stay in place indefinitely. The thin stainless steel wire is bonded to the inside of the front 4-6 teeth, as these are the teeth that have the most tendency to shift back to their original positions.