Orthodontic Appliances

Fixed or Removable


There are two main types of orthodontic "appliances": Fixed or Removable. Fixed appliances are cemented, or attached, in the mouth and the patient does not take them in and out. The braces that most people think of when they hear the word "braces" are considered fixed appliances, along with palate expanders, pendulum appliances or permanent retainers. Removable appliances are just that...removable, and patients take them in and out. Aligners, bite-plates and night-guards are all removable appliances.


Braces are made of metal or ceramic and serve as "handles" to hold onto the teeth and guide their movement. They are glued or cemented to the teeth with special dental adhesives. Archwires connect the teeth together and move the teeth, along with forces applied with springs and elastics.

Palate Expander

Also known as a Rapid Palate Expander, or RPE, it is an appliance used to widen the roof of the mouth. It is routinely used in cases where the upper jaw is abnormally narrow. It may or may not make a difference in the need for removal of teeth in crowded cases. This appliance is primarily used in patients less than 10 years-old.

Pendulum Appliance

The Pendulum appliance is used to correct class II malocclusions by distalizing (move back) upper molars. The Pendulum appliance band around specific teeth and a plastic “button” that touches the roof of the mouth. Resilient wire springs act in a broad swinging arc to move the molars back. The appliance uses the roof of the mouth as an anchor to move the molars back into their correct positions. Patients usually wear this appliance for 4 to 6 months in preparation for "regular" braces.

Interproximal Recontouring

Interproximal recontouring refers to a procedure in which the width of teeth are reduced by sculpting the sides of the teeth. This is primarily used in orthodontic treatment to gain small amounts of space with crowding of the lower front teeth, but can also help resolve tooth-size discrepancies and improve the appearance of poorly shaped teeth.


A biteplate is a removable appliance that looks similar to a retainer but is designed to prop the mouth open to keep the back teeth apart and encourage bite opening or control grinding habits. Some biteplates are also used to keep the front teeth apart during correction of a front tooth crossbite.


A clear plastic appliance, usually one of several, that is designed to move teeth a little bit at a time. Aligners are changed from one to the next as teeth move. This is a type of removable orthodontic appliance that may be used as an alternative to braces for minor front tooth alignments.


When we remove your braces, we will begin the retention stage of your treatment. Patients are followed in our office for at least 24 months after removal of braces.

Your final orthodontic result depends on the proper use of your retainers, so follow through with the hard work you’ve put in so far. Remember to remove your retainer before brushing, and clean or rinse your retainer before placing it back in your mouth.

Long-term use of retainers on a part-time basis is recommended to maintain treatment results. Permanent retainers can stay in "indefinitely" with little maintenance.