Which Appliance Will Help My Child’s Smile?

Dental professionals can recognize some orthodontic concerns early in a child’s development. This quick diagnosis allows them to treat the problem with a less invasive or expensive treatment than traditional braces.

Orthodontic appliances can resolve malocclusions for young patients that will lessen or eliminate the need for more extensive treatments. Dr. Scott McElroy, an orthodontist in San Ramon, CA, describes three orthodontic appliances that can amend teeth and jaw irregularities and improve your child’s smile.

types of orthodontic appliances in San Ramon California

Functional Appliance

A functional appliance refers to an orthodontic device that uses growth patterns in the jaw to reposition the lower jaw and improve a patient’s bite. This appliance may adhere to the patient’s teeth or act similarly to retainers, which remove from the mouth.

There are a few different types of functional appliances that vary slightly in their structure. Their ultimate goal is similar: to move the lower jaw forward and resolve an overbite or deep bite.

Sagittal Appliance

The sagittal appliance is removable and is worn on the roof of the mouth for a majority of the patient’s day. With regular turns of a screw in the device, the appliance will push molars further back in the mouth. This creates more room for developing teeth and prevents overcrowding.

This expansion lowers the chances of requiring more invasive dental solutions, including tooth extraction, if the patient’s teeth become severely crooked or crowded. It can be difficult to practice proper oral hygiene with this type of malocclusion, leaving the patient’s smile vulnerable to major dental problems, like decay and gum disease.

Palate Expander

A palate expander can be either removable or fixed to the roof of the mouth of a young patient. Similar to a sagittal appliance, this device features a screw that needs to be turned regularly to complete the treatment.

The expander pushes teeth outward to widen the jaw. This creates space for developing teeth and assists with alignment issues in the upper jaw. With a comfortable amount of room for the patient’s teeth, the dental professional can evaluate if additional treatment for malocclusion is necessary.

Expert Orthodontics Available in San Ramon, CA

McElroy Orthodontics offers Invisalign, braces, orthodontic appliances, and more treatments to patients in San Ramon, CA. Dr. McElroy can treat crooked teeth, overbites, and other malocclusions in patients of all ages. To schedule an appointment with our practice, contact us online or reach our office by phone at 925.386.2208.