Sports and Habit Appliances
Applied in order to prevent bad habits such as finger and thumb sucking, Habit appliances are specially designed devices that can effectively assist in eliminating these behaviors. The normal tooth-growing process can be disturbed by these habits and cause teeth to grow in crooked. Available as both permanent and removable, Habit appliances are only slightly uncomfortable during the first couple of days of adjustment.
Types of Habit Appliances
We place tongue training wires on the lower teeth. The purpose of these wires is to discourage the forward posturing of the tongue (“tongue thrust”) which contributes to the vertical space between the upper and lower front teeth, known as an open bite.
To help you adjust to them, please cover these wires with the wax we have given you for at least the first 48 hours. It is important to dry off the wires with tissue to help the wax stay in place. It is all right to continue using the wax longer than the first two days. Please be careful not to bite into any hard foods and avoid sticky candy or bubble gum (one stick of sugar free gum at a time is OK). These foods can bend and break the tongue wires, resulting in extra appointments to make new wires. You may wish to eat softer foods and take smaller bites the first few days. Your speech may take one to two days to adapt to the new wires. Practice reading out loud at home and repeat any words that your new tongue position has difficulty making.
For patients with a thumb sucking habbit we use a non-punitive approach of blocking access to the roof of the mouth which prevents the suction which is considered the addictive component of a thumb habit. For this appliance, we use a traditional “hard” expander (“rapid palatal expander” / “RPE”) that is made with thicker wires so that can’t be bent by thumb pressure. This traditional appliance serves as a base to which we add cross wires for better coverage of the roof of the mouth. Your speech may take one to two days to adapt to the new wires. Practice reading out loud at home and repeat any words that your new tongue position has difficulty making. If we also need to widen the upper teeth, please use the key to turn the screw twice a week as we have shown you. While some patients can turn the expander themselves, many have a parent, using a small flashlight for better vision, insert the key and turn it towards the back of the mouth. You should feel some slight pressure when it is activated. Please call the office for further instructions if you are unable to turn the key.
Sports mouthguards (also referred to as football protectors, sports mouthpieces, or spelled as two words “mouth guards”) are resilient plastic appliances that have been designed in a fashion where they cover over and encase an athlete’s teeth and the gums and bone that support them. The idea is that when a guard is worn it helps to provide protection for the hard (teeth and jaw) and soft (lips, cheeks, gums) tissues of the mouth by way of absorbing and redistributing the forces generated by traumatic blows. The construction and design of sports guards may all seem very similar but, in fact, the various types of guards that are available each provide both different features and varying degrees of mouth protection. Custom mouthguards are typically regarded as the most protective and best type of sports mouthpiece, followed by “boil and bite” and then stock mouthguards.
A retainer is a device made of plastic and metal. It is designed to maintain the position of your teeth, or slightly adjust their position. Most people who receive orthodontic treatment use retainers. Retainers are custom made for each patient, and are fully removable by the patient. Your doctor will let you know how long you’ll be using a retainer, as well as when to put it in or out. Retainers can also be used for other tongue and jaw related conditions. Your dentist will let you know when and if a retainer is necessary, and will instruct you on care and maintenance of the device.
- Pediatric and Adult Orthodontics
- Standard Braces
- Ceramic (non-metallic) Braces
- In Ovation C®
- Initial Exams
- Emergency Orthodontic Treatment