To successfully complete your orthodontic treatment plan, patients must work together with Dr. Gurza. The teeth and jaws can only move toward their corrected positions if the patient consistently wears the elastics (rubber bands), headgear or other appliances as prescribed.
The following paragraphs describe the types of appliances that may be used during your treatment with Dr. Gurza.
For more information please see your Braces Owner's Manual.
Dr. Gurza and his team cement (glue) silver metal rings called orthodontic bands to your back (molar) teeth. These bands are your back braces and are used to attach the rest of your braces. They can also be used to attach a headgear to your teeth. The bands will remain on your teeth until treatment is finished. Take a look at your bands when they are placed! See how shiny they are? They must look like this all the time. Clean them well.
You may find the inside of your cheeks and the sides of your tongue are sore for a few days after bands are applied. This is normal. Use the provided wax on your bands to help remove the irritation, as demonstrated by our team.
EVERY DAY hold each band with two fingers and give a tug or wiggle. Does the band move up and down? If yes, it has come loose. You must report a loose band to our office immediately so that an appointment can be arranged to have it repaired. A loose band is usually not an emergency and it is not necessary to page Dr. Gurza's Emergency Service unless you are in persistent pain. If you wear a headgear, STOP, until the band has been repaired. Bring your headgear to your appointment as it will require re-fitting.
Headgear is used to treat patients whose teeth are in an "overbite," (with the uppers forward of the lowers) or an "underbite" (with the lowers forward of the uppers). Headgear gently "pulls" on your teeth to restrict further forward growth of your upper teeth and jaw.
This Herbst appliance reduces overbite by encouraging the lower jaw forward and the upper molars backward. This fixed appliance is used mostly for younger, growing children and is worn for about 12 to 15 months.
The palatal expander "expands" (widens) your upper jaw by putting gentle pressure on your upper molars each time an adjustment is made. Dr. Gurza will instruct you about when and how to adjust your expander. When you achieve the desired expansion, you will wear the appliance for several months to solidify the expansion and to prevent regression.
Positioners complete the final tooth movements in your orthodontic treatment. With your full cooperation, you should only need to wear the positioner appliance for four to eight weeks.
View our patient care video for more information about Positioners.
Retainers may be removable or fixed. They hold your teeth in their new, correct positions after your teeth have been straightened. Dr. Gurza will instruct you on how to care for your retainer and about the duration of the wear. Wearing your retainer as directed is crucial to prevent regression of your treatment.
Separators (or Spacers)
Before the doctor can place bands or other appliances on your teeth, we have to prepare them with separators.
Separators are small elastics or springs that are placed between certain teeth to create a small amount of space so that the bands, rings that go all the way around these teeth, can be fitted easily and comfortably.
Separators will move your teeth slightly, causing slight discomfort for about three days. After the first few days the separators may be easily dislodged.
Avoid chewy foods such as gum or candies and do not floss between those teeth. You will need to check them every day and make sure they are all still in place. If you find that one or more separators have dislodged, please call the office.
Pendulum and Distal Jet
One of the causes of your orthodontic difficulties is the forward positioning of your upper back teeth or insufficient space for all the teeth.
Dr. Gurza will use a Pendulum or Distal Jet appliance to widen your jaw by guiding your natural jaw growth. These two appliances use the roof of your mouth as an anchor to move your back teeth (molars) into their correct positions. This will help Dr. Gurza create enough room for your crowded or protrusive teeth so the upper and lower teeth will fit together properly. Pendulums and Distal Jets are cemented in place, so you'll wear them all the time until the desired result is achieved. These appliances usually remain cemented for 3 - 6 months. Headgears and Braces are often placed while still wearing a pendulum
Your teeth may be sore for 3-4 days while you get used to the new stuff in your mouth. You may also find swallowing and talking difficult for the first week since extra saliva is common. Tylenol or Advil are suggested for the first few days. Please follow the package directions for correct doses.