When you first visit to your orthodontist it can almost seem as though they are speaking another language on your initial appointments. Dr. Demas and the team go out of their way to explain your treatment options and appliances in non-orthodontic terms. Understanding the difference between different types of orthodontic appliances is absolutely crucial during your treatment. There are a number of different types of appliances that you may need to wear in conjunction with braces in order to properly align your teeth. In order to follow instructions from your orthodontist as well as relay information to them throughout your treatment, understanding the difference between types of appliances and their uses is crucial. In this article we will discuss some of the types of appliances that you may need to use as well as their function.

Types of ApplianceElastics

Elastics may be required with your braces to properly align and fit your upper and lower teeth. Make sure to follow your orthodontist instructions and where elastics for rubber bands whenever you are required to. Be sure to always keep some elastics on hand to make sure that you are constantly aligning your teeth.

Herbst Appliance

This appliance also works to encourage the lower jaw to move forward by pushing upper molars backwards. The appliance is installed as a permanent measure and is generally worn by kids in the development stage for around a full year.

Palatal Expander

This appliance works to expand and widen jaws by placing pressure on the upper molars. The expander can be adjusted as treatment continues to gradually expand jaw width to the correct size of the teeth match-up. The expander will need to be adjusted and worn for a number of months.


Positioners were to complete small touches and the final movements of your orthodontic treatment. Usually positioners are worn for around 4 to 8 weeks after braces have been used to complete small adjustments that braces cannot handle.


Retainers work to keep your teeth straight after treatment. Retainers will be required long term to keep your teeth in place after you have completed orthodontic treatment.

Separators (Spacers)

Separators are placed between your teeth to push them slightly apart during orthodontic treatment so that bands and other orthodontic appliances can be placed into these areas.

Types of Appliances