An Overview About Removable Appliances

removable appliances

Published by Dr. Charles Gemmi

A Board Certified Orthodontist and a Diplomate of the American Board of Orthodontics, Dr. Charles Gemmi has been a practicing orthodontist with Orthodontics Limited since 2000 and is a member of the teaching staff at Einstein Medical Center. Orthodontics Limited is a Diamond+ Provider of Invisalign in Philadelphia and Hatboro, PA.

When most people think about orthodontics, they usually think about braces. That makes sense considering braces are the most popular and common form of orthodontics in the world. For good reason too, they almost always get the job done and result in straight, healthy, happy smiles. Braces long ago became a rite of passage and a terrific tool for anyone who is taking their oral health seriously.

But did you know there is more to orthodontics than just braces? It’s true, there is a whole field of extra tools that can be used to help align a smile and create a healthy look and feel to your mouth. The orthodontist has a lot of tricks up his or her sleeve and some of those tricks are called removable appliances. In fact, removable appliances pick up where braces left off, they continue the job started with your traditional braces and propel you further on your orthodontic journey.

Now, you may be confused by the term “removable appliance”. It sounds like something you would find in the kitchenware section of a local store. They might have an technical name but removable appliances are an important and truly essential part of any worthwhile and successful orthodontic treatment. With removable appliances, you can rest assured that your lifetime of straight teeth doesn’t end after your time with braces has concluded.

So, what are removable appliances? Why are they so important? How many are there? Obviously, there is a lot to learn about this exciting field in orthodontics. Understanding it all will help you retain a healthy smile and will help you be completely informed about the possibilities for your mouth, teeth, gums and overall health.

Simply put, removable appliances are custom-made oral devices that go hand-in-hand with braces and other orthodontic procedures to keep your teeth straight. Why are they called removable? Because they are. Unlike braces, these tools can be taken out of your mouth to be washed, or when your teeth need cleaning, or if your doctor instructs you to. That doesn’t mean that you only wear removable appliances for a few minutes a day. Most of them are intended to be worn and used for much – if not all – of the day. But they can be taken out with complete ease, unlike traditional, metal braces.

As we all know, the goal of braces is to straighten your teeth. The goal of removable appliances, on the other hand, is to keep your teeth straight now that the braces have done their job and have been dismantled. That’s not all removable appliances do, though. They are also created to help with repairing your jaw, adjusting an over-or-underbite, protecting your mouth during sleep and even replacing lost teeth. 

What are some examples of removable appliances and what do they do? You have probably heard of a retainer, that is one of the most common appliances orthodontists use. Their purpose is to maintain alignment of your teeth after your braces have been taken off. As you may know, retainers can be taken off for long periods of time or kept on as well. It all depends on what your orthodontist chooses and prescribes for you.

Invisalign, the wildly popular removable and clear brace aligners, are one of the most well-known removable appliances that have changed the way orthodontics work. With Invisalign, you get the power of traditional braces with the ability to take them off and the added bonus of their invisibility. Now no one has to know you’re wearing an orthodontic appliance thanks to Invisalign’s revolutionary design. Invisalign is also super helpful because they are so easy to clean. How do you clean Invisalign? Simply rinse and soak your aligners in a basic solution of water and soap or specially made retainer cleaner and they will be spotless again in no time. The ease of Invisalign is one of the major reasons why they are such a coveted removable appliance.

Mouthguards and nightguards are two other extremely helpful and desired removable appliances that your orthodontist may suggest for you. They protect teeth during intense physical exercise and sports or during a night’s rest if a patient is known to grind their teeth. Like all other removable appliances, they are made specially for the mouth they will sit in.

There are many other removable appliances for many other issues that need solving. Snoring devices, partial dentures, space maintainers, palatal expanders are just some of the other variations on removable appliances. Now you can see how many options there are aside from just braces. Braces are just the beginning!

What is so special about removable appliances is that they are crafted specifically for your mouth with expert care and precision. Whatever your unique situation and goals are, there is a removable appliance for you. It is a great, easy, reliable way to ensure that your teeth will remain looking exactly as you planned far into the future.

Your orthodontist may recommend your removable appliance be installed before or after your orthodontic treatment, it all depends on your specific plan. No matter when you get them fitted for you or how long they are intended to be on, it is incredibly important that you take special care of your removable appliance. Without the proper care and treatment, it may not last long and you will soon be coming back to the orthodontist for a new one.

How do you keep your removable appliance in tip-top shape? That’s easy! It requires that you rinse your appliance with water, brush it using a soft bristle brush, soak it in a recommended cleanser, and then let it dry. It’s as simple as that. As you can see, removable appliances are a terrific, individualized way to improve your oral health and continue you on a road to straight, healthy, happy teeth. Not enough people know of the powerful, beneficial help that removable appliances can give patients. So many people think that orthodontics begin and end with braces but that couldn’t be further from the truth. With the inclusion of removable appliances provided and created by your orthodontist, the future of your smile is bright.

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