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Types of Orthodontic Appliances

To help you get the best possible smile results from braces or Invisalign® treatment at our East Bradenton, North Tampa, South Tampa, or Wesley Chapel orthodontist offices, you may wear an orthodontic appliance before, during or after treatment!

What do orthodontic appliances do?

There are a number of orthodontic appliances with a number of uses. Orthodontic appliances are effective for facilitating more efficient tooth movement, holding space in the mouth for permanent teeth to grow, and/or helping to support proper growth and development of the jaw bones.
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Herbst® Appliance

The Herbst device treats overbites by shifting the lower jaw forward and the upper jaw backward.

The Herbst appliance is generally used for younger patients with growing mouths and can be used with or without braces (although most often it is used with braces). Made of stainless steel bands, the Herbst appliance wraps around the molars, applying pressure to the jaw bones to promote proper development and create a healthy jaw alignment.

Palatal Expander

Palatal Expander

Palatal expanders are a common appliance used in early orthodontic treatment for children whose jaw bones are still developing. These appliances serve to widen the upper jaw to create the necessary space for teeth to erupt in a healthy alignment. Palatal expanders can help prevent crowding and impaction by guiding proper development of the jaw bone.

The rapid palatal expander (the most common type of palatal expander) is bonded to the upper molars on both sides of the top jaw, with a screw located in the center of the appliance. To activate the palatal expander, you’ll insert a special key to turn the center screw, which expands the device ever so slightly and widens the palate gradually over time.

If your child requires a palatal expander, we’ll tell you everything you need to know about cleaning it, activating it and caring for it!


Temporary anchorage devices (TADs) are temporary dental implants embedded into the jawbone to create an “anchor” that assists with tooth movement. These appliances are generally used when certain teeth require shifting, and others don’t. TADs enable us to treat individual teeth with greater efficiency.

These anchorage devices appear as tiny metal buttons, strategically implanted into an area of the jaw bone. A small wire or elastic may be attached to the TAD to connect it with the specific tooth (or teeth) in need of treatment.

Teeth Separators or Spacers

Spacers, also called separators, are small rubber bands that help to create the space necessary for braces to be placed. With braces, a metal band is placed around the back molars to anchor the arch wires in place. In cases where the molars are too close together to allow these metal bands to be placed, separators may be used.

Separators are temporary appliances that are only worn for about one to two weeks before active treatment begins.

Nance Appliance

The Nance appliance is used to hold the upper molars in place, to prevent them from rotating or shifting forward. With this appliance, two metal bands are cemented around the first molars and a wire connects the back molars to an acrylic pad, located behind the two front teeth.

Banded Bite Plate

A banded bite plate serves to correct a deep bite (overbite) condition. This appliance fits behind the upper, front teeth, and disables the rear teeth from meeting when the mouth is closed, which allows these posterior teeth to develop properly. Over several months, the deep bite will become corrected!

Lower Lingual Arch (Space Maintainer)

The lower lingual holding arch is a space maintainer that uses metal bands around the two lower molars, with a metal wire spanning from the molars, around the inside of the bottom teeth. Used to hold the necessary space in the mouth for premolars to grow, the lower lingual arch appliance establishes the proper foundation that shapes the lower arch in a healthy alignment.

Quad-Helix Appliance

Quad-Helix Appliances widen the upper jaw with metal bands around the top molars and active helix springs lining the arch. These appliances are usually fixed, and they are effective for treating crossbites and crowding.

Have questions about types of orthodontic appliances?

Our team wants to hear from you! We encourage you to reach out to us with any questions or concerns you may have about fixed or removable orthodontic appliances.

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types of orthodontic appliances