African American patient smiling

Types of Orthodontic Appliances

Elastics (Rubber Bands)

Wearing elastics (or rubber bands) aids in correcting your bite by helping the upper and lower teeth fit together properly. Wear rubber bands as instructed, and remember that the rubber bands work far more efficiently if they’re worn as prescribed. Note: Wear only the elastics Dr. Spillers or Dr. Gordon prescribes for you; they are included with your treatment.

Palatal Expander

The palatal expander “expands” (or widens) your upper jaw to make room for permanent teeth by putting gentle pressure on your upper molars each time an adjustment is made.Your orthodontist will instruct you about when and how to adjust your expander. Once you achieve the desired expansion, you will wear the appliance for several more months to solidify the expansion and to prevent regression. 


Watch a video about how to turn your expander below:


Headgear is used to treat patients whose teeth are in an overbite with the upper jaw forward of the lower jaw, or an underbite with the lower jaw forward of the upper jaw. Headgear gently “pulls” on your teeth to restrict further forward growth of your upper teeth and jaw.

Herbst ® Appliance

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

Lip Bumper

A lip bumper is used to make more space for crowded teeth. It allows the tongue to widen the arch by keeping the pressure of the lip and cheeks away from the teeth.


Retainers hold your teeth in their new, correct positions after your teeth have been straightened. Dr. Spillers and Dr. Gordon will instruct you on how to care for your retainers and about the duration of the wear. Wearing your retainer as directed is crucial to prevent regression of your treatment. We always say to “wear your retainers as long as you want to keep your teeth straight.” See more information about the different types of retainers.

Separators or Spacers

Separators are little rubber doughnuts that may be placed between your teeth to push them apart so that orthodontic bands may 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.


The Forsus appliance promotes growth in adolescents, helping to eliminate excessive overbites, improve the bite, and possibly prevent the need for jaw surgery. The Forsus appliance has a low profile and does not bow into the cheek like other Class II correction appliances. Plus, it allows for a full range of motion so your speech and eating habits won’t be affected.

Sleep Apnea Appliance

The purpose of the sleep apnea appliance is to open the airway passage by shifting the lower jaw forward.


This occlusal device will allow your jaw joints and muscles to function more smoothly. It will allow the jaw to find its best position because the device prevents the teeth from locking together. It should reduce muscle spasm, clenching habits, jaw/joint pain, and wear on the teeth.


For your convenience you may download or print the following instruction forms. Please call the office for further assistance or information about your treatment or appliance(s).

Still have questions about orthodontic appliances?

Please don’t hesitate to reach out to us at either of our locations in Macon or Warner Robins. If you’re ready to get started, schedule a free orthodontic exam for you or your child today!