Types of Appliances



Elastics, also known as rubber bands, are a vital part of treatment and are also contingent upon patient compliance. They add extra pressure to the braces to help move the teeth. Generally worn at all times (excluding eating and brushing your teeth), elastics should be changed at least once a day. They come in various sizes as they are each used for a specific purpose. We will provide you with the appropriate size.

It is important to wear them consistently or treatment setbacks may occur. If only one day is missed, it could cause your teeth to shift back to their original position!

herbst.pngHerbst® Appliance

One of the most common problems orthodontists treat is the discrepancy that occurs when the upper teeth protrude beyond the lower. Ordinarily, when we see a patient with the upper teeth protruding, we tend to think that the upper jaw and teeth are too far forward; but, more often than not, this condition is due to a small lower jaw that is further back than it should be. With these patients, we would like to encourage the lower jaw to catch up in growth, and braces like the Herbst appliance help this happen.

Even though the Herbst appliance prevents the lower jaw from moving backward, opening and closing movement still occur easily, and patients do not have any problems learning to chew their food with their lower jaw in this new position.

As with all kinds of braces, patients with Herbst appliances need to be careful about what they eat. For instance, cold foods such as ice slushes, Popsicles and ice will freeze the cement and make the brace loosen. Sticky foods such as caramels, bubble gum and candy suckers will pull the brace away from the teeth. Hard foods like crisp vegetables and hard candies will bend and loosen the Herbst appliance, too. So stay away from these foods during your orthodontic treatment.

Your Herbst appliance will be checked and adjusted at your appointments. If, sometimes between appointments, you develop some sore areas on the inside of your cheeks, please do not try to adjust the appliance yourself. Call for an appointment so that the necessary adjustments can be made.


Retainers are used to hold your teeth in the corrected positions once your braces are removed. Dr. Phillips will give you instructions on how to care for your retainer and how long you should wear it.  After a period of full-time retainer wear, we will often recommend part-time retainer wear indefinitely, so as to ensure your smile is as straight and beautiful as the day your braces came off!

Your final orthodontic result depends on your retainers, so wear your retainer as directed and follow through with the hard work you’ve put in so far to prevent any regression.

Click here for more information about caring for your retainer.

separators.jpgSeparators (Spacers)

Separators are small, round elastics that fit snugly between your teeth to move them slightly so bands can be placed around them. Spacers can fall out on their own if enough space has already been created. When we place the bands, the separators will be removed. Because we typically bond instead of band the back teeth, a very small percentage (5%) of our patients will need spacers.

If spacers are placed, remember to avoid using toothpicks and floss as well as eating sticky foods as these will cause the spacers to come out before enough space has been created.