In addition to a wide range of treatment options for both metal and clear braces and aligners, Dr. Richter often recommends the incorporation of an orthodontic appliance to address a more complex problem such as an uneven bite. In many cases, your orthodontic appliance is designed and fabricated in our Greeley, CO dental office for a custom fit.

An orthodontic appliance can often alleviate the need for a surgical fix to a bite problem, jaw misalignment or a narrow palate- all of which can contribute to dental problems affecting both the appearance and function of a patient’s smile as they grow.

Orthodontic Appliances: How Do They Work?

  • Forsus appliance: a common treatment for an over or under bite, the spring loaded Forsus appliance can facilitate moving the upper molars back and the lower arch of teeth forward simultaneously, allowing the bite to be realigned for better function and comfort.
  • Herbst appliance: the Herbst appliance is an alternative to headgear, used to help the lower jaw develop in a forward direction, typically closing an overbite and providing a functional, comfortable bite. Some tenderness is likely after the appliance is put in, including gum irritation where the appliance is placed.
  • Palatal expander: often the first part of two phase treatment, a palatal expander helps eliminate cross bites and tooth crowding in young patients. After some initial discomfort, treatment is relatively painless and an important part of helping a young patient achieve a beautiful smile that is healthy and functional, preventing possible bite problems down the road.
  • Lower lingual holding arch: a metal bracket attached to the inside of the teeth, the holding arch prevents permanent molars from shifting forward, enabling crowded teeth time to spread out. Despite some minor discomfort after insertion of the appliance, most patients will find they don’t notice it and have no problems with treatment.
  • Habit appliance: a habit appliance is used to prevent thumb sucking and tongue thrusting in younger patients and can have several types of configuration depending on the age and needs of the patient.
  • Lucia Jig: a Lucia jig is placed to deprogram the pterygoid muscle, which can be causing a bite disorder such as TMJ. This appliance allows the jaw to relax, reducing associated pain and facilitating a healthier alignment.

Orthodontic Appliances: What To Expect

Dr. Richter will make the recommendation for an orthodontic appliance to augment your treatment when necessary to restore a healthier bite and address dental problems that can affect your result if left untreated. In most cases, an orthodontic appliance is well tolerated after some initial discomfort and irritation of the soft tissues of the mouth. Dr. Richter and his staff will make personalized pain management suggestions to address these initial side effects, typically an over the counter anti inflammatory.

If you have concerns about your appliance, are experiencing persistent discomfort or have a broken appliance, please contact our office as soon as possible. If necessary, we will schedule an emergency visit to address your problem, often the same day.

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