Types of Orthodontic Appliances

To achieve the desired results from braces or Invisalign® treatment at our Melbourne, Viera, or Merritt Island orthodontist office, you may wear an orthodontic appliance before, during or after treatment!

What do orthodontic appliances do?

Orthodontic appliances have a variety of uses. They’re effective for facilitating more efficient tooth movement, holding space in the mouth for permanent teeth to grow, and/or helping to support proper growth and development of the jaw bones.


The PowerScope treats overbites by promoting a healthy alignment between the upper and lower teeth.

This appliance uses springs to apply persistent pressure on the upper and lower teeth and create resistance, shifting the upper teeth backward and the lower teeth forward. Once the appliance is in place, it takes the place of rubber bands. It’s important that you keep this appliance as clean as possible and not open wide or move your mouth side to side while it is worn. 

Palatal Expander

Palatal expanders are a common appliance used in early orthodontic treatment for children whose jaw bones are still developing or in teens that need more room for erupting teeth. These appliances serve to widen the upper jaw to create the necessary space for teeth to erupt in a healthy alignment. Palatal expanders can help prevent crowding and impaction by guiding proper development of the jaw bone. They also help correct crossbites. 

The rapid palatal expander (the most common type of palatal expander) is bonded to the upper molars on both sides of the top jaw, with a screw located in the center of the appliance. To activate the palatal expander, you’ll insert a special key to turn the center screw, which expands the device ever so slightly and widens the palate gradually over time.

If your child requires a palatal expander, we’ll tell you everything you need to know about cleaning it, activating it and caring for it!

Teeth Separators or Spacers

Spacers, also called separators, are small rubber bands that help to create the space necessary for braces to be placed. With some appliances like expanders, a metal band is placed around the back molars to anchor the appliance in place. In cases where the molars are too close together to allow these metal bands to be placed, separators may be used.

Separators are temporary appliances that are only worn for about one to two weeks before placing the appliance.

Nance Appliance or Transpalatal Arch (TPA)

A Nance appliance or transpalatal arch (TPA)  is used to hold the upper molars in place, to prevent them from rotating or shifting forward. With this appliance, two metal bands are cemented around the first molars and a wire connects the back molars. It is typically worn until most or all of the permanent teeth have erupted.

Lower Lingual Arch (Space Maintainer)

The lower lingual holding arch is a space maintainer that uses metal bands around the two lower molars, with a metal wire spanning from the molars, around the inside of the bottom teeth. Used to hold the necessary space in the mouth for premolars to grow, the lower lingual arch appliance establishes the proper foundation that shapes the lower arch in a healthy alignment. 

W-Arch Appliance

W-arch appliances widen the upper jaw with metal bands around the top molars and active arms lining the inside of the upper teeth. These appliances are fixed (glued in), and they are effective for treating crossbites and crowding. 

Have questions about types of orthodontic appliances?

Please don’t hesitate to reach out to us with any questions.

Dr. Caudill, Dr. McNeight, and our experienced team are here to guide you and support you along your treatment process, while you achieve the perfect smile.

Ready to get started? Request your free orthodontic exam at our conveniently located orthodontist offices in Melbourne, Merritt Island, or Viera today! Come experience the vibes!

Follow us