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Orthodontic Appliances

Orthodontic appliances may be used before or during comprehensive treatment with braces or Invisalign®.

Orthodontics San Diego

Giving braces and aligners a boost

Braces and Invisalign aligners straighten the teeth in each arch independently. But, sometimes, they need a little extra support to ensure the upper and lower teeth will come together properly. That’s where orthodontic appliances come in. Depending on the specific case, patients may get an appliance as part of a Phase I treatment plan or along with their braces or aligners during comprehensive treatment.

State-of-the-Art Orthodontic Appliances

Carriere® Motion™ Appliance

This cutting-edge orthodontic appliance is a sleek, comfortable alternative to headgear and other bulky devices. It corrects the bite prior to braces or Invisalign. The appliance is attached to the outside of the first permanent molars and canine teeth and has elastics that connect it to a tooth on the opposing arch.

As you wear the elastics, the Carriere Motion appliance exerts gentle pressure to align the bite. Once removed, usually after three to six months, braces or Invisalign treatment starts. Since the bite is corrected in advance, it can greatly reduce your total treatment time.

MARA® Appliance

The MARA (Mandibular Anterior Repositioning Appliance) is used to help correct an overbite. The appliance is attached to the top and bottom first molars on either side of the mouth. The lower attachments have a horizontal “arm,” while the upper attachments have a vertical “elbow.”

Once adjusted, in order for a patient to bite down, they have to shift their lower jaw forward so that the lower arm moves in front of the elbow. Over time, this alters the jaw posture, closing the overbite. MARA can be used before or along with braces or clear aligners.


The PowerScope is another alternative to headgear that’s used to guide jaw development and fix an overbite. It’s small, comfortable and barely noticeable since it’s bonded to teeth towards the back of the mouth. The one-piece, telescoping design won’t break or come apart, and its internal spring constantly exerts the right amount of pressure.

Dr. Durschlag typically uses the PowerScope appliance with braces or aligners, so he can straighten the teeth, while simultaneously improving the bite. As the appliance comfortably aligns the jaw, patients are able to open and close their mouth like they normally do.

CS4® Springs

The CS4 appliance is designed to improve the relationship between the upper and lower jaws to correct overbites and underbites. The metal springs connect to teeth on the upper and lower arches. This provides the connective force needed to align the jaw, while braces or aligners are aligning the teeth.

Like the other types of appliances we use, the state-of-the-art tool provides the optimal amount of steady force. Once you get acclimated to the springs, you won’t feel any discomfort or have difficulty eating.

Lower Arch Space Maintainer
Lower Arch Space Maintainer

A lower arch space maintainer, also called a lower lingual holding arch, is an appliance that’s bonded to the bottom molars on either side of a child’s mouth. It also has a wire that runs behind the teeth, on the tongue side. The appliance holds space in the lower arch and stops the bottom molars from shifting forward and blocking permanent teeth from erupting. It generally stays in place until all of the permanent teeth have erupted.

A lower arch space maintainer might be recommended if your little one prematurely lost baby teeth on both sides of the mouth or if they lost two teeth on the same side. It can also be used if your child’s lower teeth are crowded or in conjunction with other appliances for overbite correction.

Special Expanders

A palatal expander is an appliance used to widen the upper jaw, or maxilla, in growing patients It can be indicated to alleviate future crowding, correct a crossbite or improve the airway.

The device is bonded to the molars and has a piece that sits against the roof of the mouth. There is a center screw that has to be activated by turning a key. Since kids’ upper jaw isn’t fused yet and consists of two halves, the pressure causes the maxillae to grow outward.

Once we achieve the desired amount of expansion, patients continue to wear the appliance for a few more months. This gives the body time to fill in the space with new bone, stabilizing the expansion. Because maxillary expansion creates orthopedic change, the results are permanent.

Special Expanders
Special Expanders

In teen or young adult patients whose upper jaws are fused, a conventional palatal expander won’t be effective. Dr. Durschlag is known for taking on complex cases and treating them non-surgically. Special expanders are a helpful tool that helps him do it.

Some types widen the upper jaw and shift the molars back to regain space. Others, like the MARPE, miniscrew-assisted rapid palatal expansion, rely on mini implants inserted into the palate. The implants give the expander enough leverage to exert a safe amount of force to widen the upper jaw with each turn of the key.

Habit Breaking Appliances
Habit-Breaking Appliances

Habit-breaking appliances are fixed appliances used to stop thumb and finger sucking and tongue thrust habits. The appliance sits against the palate behind the top front teeth, which prevents a child’s thumb, fingers or tongue from coming into contact with the area.

Bleaching Tray
Bleaching Tray

Want to brighten your smile? We offer custom bleaching trays at San Diego Smile Pros. After taking digital scans of your mouth, we’ll use our in-office 3D printer to fabricate a precise-fitting bleaching tray just for you. We’ll also provide professional-grade whitening syringes to use with it.

Made from clear, BPA-free plastic, the tray is similar to aligners or retainers. Because it sits properly against your teeth, it allows for more effective, safer whitening.

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