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Choosing an Orthodontic Appliance

Does your child have crooked teeth or a misaligned jaw? If this is the case, it might be time to consider orthodontic appliances. Although Bear Creek Pediatric Dentistry doesn’t provide orthodontia, we can help prepare you and your child for the process. The first step is deciding which kind of appliance your child needs, whether it’s a retainer, braces or a combination of both.

Nowadays, there are many orthodontic options for straightening teeth and aligning the jaw. These appliances include:


These are the primary appliances used to straighten teeth and correct misaligned jaws in children. Braces apply pressure to the teeth and jaws to move them into the desired position. Fortunately, braces are no longer restricted to a shiny mouthful of metal. With braces made of ceramic, plastic and stainless steel, braces can now be tooth-colored and nearly invisible. In the past brackets were fully banded, but today they are directly bonded to each tooth’s surface, and can even be placed behind teeth.

Invisible trays can straighten teeth without traditional braces and wires, making this a great option for people who require simple orthodontic work. The removable, customized trays put pressure on teeth and gradually move them into the correct position.

Temporary anchorage devices (TADs)

TADs are mini-screws ranging from six to 12 millimeters in length and 1.2 to two millimeters in diameter. These may be temporarily fixed to bone in the mouth in order to provide a fixed point from which to apply direct force to shift the teeth. With a TAD, you will receive more predictable tooth control.

Rubber bands

Also called elastics, rubber bands are used when more force is needed to move teeth and jaws into desired position. Kids can choose their favorite color to make wearing rubber bands a more tolerable experience.


With headgear, the appliance is attached to the braces from the back of the head and can be removed. Similarly to rubber bands, headgear is used when extra force is needed to move teeth and jaws. It usually only needs to be worn at night while sleeping.


Retainers keep teeth in place once braces are removed. It takes teeth time to settle into a new position and by wearing a retainer, you can prevent them from shifting. Some retainers may be removable while others are fixed and bonded behind the teeth. Retainers are made of either clear plastic, metal wires or rubber. Kids can usually choose colorful retainers, glow-in-the-dark retainers or a design a retainer with a customizable picture.