Types of Orthodontic Appliances

To successfully complete the orthodontic treatment plan, patients must work together with Dr. Austin. Your teeth and jaws can only move toward their corrected positions if you consistently wear the elastics (rubber bands), headgear, or other appliances Dr. Austin has prescribed.

Pendulum and Pendex Appliances

A combination palatal expansion appliance with springs to move the upper molars back. This appliance is used in cases of severe crowding and when primary (baby teeth) are lost too early and the adult molars have drifted forward.

Elastics (Rubber Bands)

Wearing elastics (rubber bands) improves the fit of your upper and lower teeth. Wear your rubber bands as instructed and remember that the rubber bands insure that your treatment will progress efficiently.


Retainers may be removable or fixed. They hold your teeth in their new, correct positions after your teeth have been straightened. Dr. Austin 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 orthodontic relapse.Ā Click here for more information on how to care for your retainer.

Expansion Appliance

An expansion appliance is an appliance that is cemented inside your mouth to help widen the size of your jaw.


A mask that covers the patients forehead and chin. It is used to help correct anterior crossbite (underbite). The patient connects a rubber band from a hook on an expander in the mouth to a hook on the facemask to help bring the upper jaw forward.

Custom Facemask

A custom facemask is made from an exact impression of a patients face. The patient can also customize the color and design of the forehead and chin portion of their mask.


Headgear is used to treat patients whose teeth and upper jaw are too far forward relative to the lower jaw. Headgear gently reduces forward growth of your upper jaw to allow the lower jaw growth to catch up and establish a better bite relationship.


A Mandibular Anterior Repositioning Appliance is an intraoral appliance that helps encourage lower jaw growth. It is worn with and without braces for twelve to eighteen months.

HerbstĀ® Appliance

The Herbst appliance reduces overbite by encouraging the lower jaw forward and the upper jaw backward. This fixed appliance is used mostly for younger, growing children and is worn for about 12-15 months.

Palatal Expander

A palatal expander expands (widens) your upper jaw by putting gentle pressure on your mid-palatal suture (growth plate) each time an adjustment is made. Dr. Austin will instruct you as to when and how to activate 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 your positioner appliance for 4-8 weeks.

Separators or Spacers

Separators are little rubber rings that may be placed between your teeth to push them apart so that orthodontic bands can be placed during your next appointment. The separators will be removed before we place the bands. Separators do not mix well with sticky foods, toothpicks, or floss. It is not unusual to experience discomfort and tooth tenderness during the first 48 hours after separator placement. Advil may help reduce the tenderness.

If you have questions about Orthodontic treatment options or appliances, please call Austin Orthodontics in Santa Monica at (310) 393-8233 for a complimentary consultation.