An orthodontist applying brackets to the teeth and bonding them with a bonding gun

Types of Orthodontic Appliances

Types of Orthodontic Appliances

Different Kinds of Appliances and What They Do

Orthodontic appliances are devices used to correct misaligned teeth and jaws. There are several types of appliances available, each with its own unique benefits and drawbacks. This guide will help you understand the different types of orthodontic appliances and how they work to straighten teeth.

Traditional Braces

Traditional braces are the most common type of orthodontic appliance. They consist of metal brackets that are attached to the teeth and connected by wires and elastic bands. The wires are adjusted over time to gradually move the teeth into the desired position. While they may not be the most aesthetically pleasing option, traditional braces are effective for correcting a wide range of dental issues and are often the most affordable option. They also come in a variety of colors, allowing patients to express their personality.

Skarin System Braces/Aligners

Skarin System braces is a brand new kind of orthodontic appliance and braces system. We call it a braces system, but in truth, mechanically they work completely differently than regular braces. For regular braces and aligners to work, they have to move adjacent teeth. Up to now, only moving one particular tooth into place is really not possible. This causes undesired tooth movement and increased pain.

Our patented technology moves teeth independently, which means we have no adjacent or inadvertent tooth movement. The only teeth that move are the teeth that Dr. Skarin desires to move. No adjacent tooth movement means your teeth are aligned much faster since, and since less tooth movement occurs, there is much less pain.

Lastly, our system applies a constant but light force on the teeth. Braces and aligners applies a strong intermittent force after tightening the braces or when putting in the next aligner tray. The force on the teeth is similar to a yo-yo, strong painful forces after tightening followed by more manageable weaker forces. Our technology overcomes this limitation. We engineered our technology to apply a constant light force, which means no yo-yoing. You will only feel a nice comfortable light continuous pressure on your teeth.

Ceramic Braces

Ceramic braces are similar to traditional braces, but the brackets are made of clear or tooth-colored materials, making them less noticeable. They are a popular orthodontic appliance for adults and teenagers who want a more discreet option for straightening their teeth. However, they are more fragile than metal braces and may require more frequent adjustments. They are also typically more expensive than traditional braces.

Lingual Braces

Lingual braces are similar to traditional braces, but the brackets and wires are placed on the back of the teeth, making them virtually invisible from the front. They are a popular choice for adults who want to straighten their teeth without the appearance of traditional braces. However, they can be more difficult to clean and may cause more discomfort than traditional braces. They also require a highly skilled orthodontist to place and adjust them properly.

Self-Ligating Braces

Self-ligating braces are similar to traditional braces, but they use a special clip or bracket to hold the archwire in place instead of elastic bands. This allows for less friction and pressure on the teeth, resulting in a more comfortable experience for the patient. They also require fewer adjustments and appointments, making them a convenient option for those with busy schedules. However, they may be more expensive than traditional braces and not all orthodontists offer this option.

Clear Aligners

Clear aligners, such as Invisalign, are a popular alternative to traditional braces. They are made of clear plastic and are virtually invisible when worn. Clear aligners work by gradually shifting the teeth into the desired position using a series of custom-made aligners. Each set of aligners is worn for a specific amount of time before being replaced with the next set in the series. Clear aligners are removable, making them easy to clean and allowing for more flexibility in eating and drinking. However, they may not be suitable for more complex orthodontic cases and require strict adherence to wearing them for the recommended amount of time each day.


Positioners are usually used to complete the final tooth movements in orthodontic treatment. Positioners may also be used for teeth that are mostly well aligned but need a "touch up." Positioners can be thought of as an early version of an aligner.

Typically, patients need to wear the positioner for four to eight weeks, but this duration may vary depending on the individual case and the orthodontist's recommendation. With proper cooperation, the positioner can help achieve the desired results and improve overall dental health.


Headgear is a common orthodontic appliance, which is used to treat overbites (the upper jaw is farther forward than the lower jaw) or underbites (the lower jaw is farther forward than the upper jaw). By gently pulling on the teeth, headgear restrict further growth of the upper jaw or lower jaw, helping to correct the alignment of the teeth and improve the patient's bite.

Elastics (Rubber Bands)

Dr. Skarin uses these small, stretchy bands to improve the alignment of your upper and lower teeth by applying gentle pressure. It is important to wear them as instructed by your orthodontist as consistent use will lead to the best results over time.

Palatal Expander

The palatal expander is an appliance used to widen the upper jaw. Palatal expanders are used at an earlier age when the palate is still growing and is not yet solidified. Expanding the palate helps adult teeth come in more easily and with better structure of the jaw. By applying gentle pressure to the upper molars, the expander gradually expands the jaw over time. Your orthodontist will provide instructions on how to adjust the appliance and when to wear it to achieve the desired results. After the expansion is complete, you will continue to wear the appliance for several months to ensure the expansion is solidified and maintained.

Separators or Spacers

Spacers are small rubber doughnuts used to create space between teeth so that orthodontic bands can be placed during the next appointment. Once the bands are in place and make enough space for the orthodontic molar bands, the separators are removed.


Retainers can either be removable or fixed, and they are used to hold your teeth in their new, corrected positions after undergoing orthodontic treatment. Your orthodontist will provide instructions on how to properly care for your retainer and how long you should wear it. It is important to follow these instructions to prevent your teeth from shifting back to their original positions.


A splint is used to treat Temporomandibular Joint Disorders (TMD). This hard acrylic device fits over the upper teeth and works by relaxing the muscles of the jaw, allowing it to reposition the jaw to a more optimal position. Splints must be adjusted periodically as the jaw repositions and must be worn at all times for maximum effectiveness.

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