image of a retainer which is a type of orthodontic appliance

Types of Orthodontic Appliances

When undergoing your Orthodontic treatment in Ottawa, there are various devices that you may be required to use during the process. In addition to the typical Orthodontic archwires and brackets, these special devices help your teeth and jaw move into their ideal positions, getting you the best result possible.

Some types of Orthodontic appliances include:

Elastics (Rubber Bands)

Elastics, or “rubber bands” are placed over your braces to help fix bite issues. For example, if you have an overbite or underbite, putting the elastics in specific positions will correct these issues thanks to the area-specific force they apply.  

Wearing rubber bands may initially make your teeth sore, but the pressure should go away within a few days.  To ensure proper movement and not delay your results, elastics should be worn for as directed by Dr. Cohen and his team. You should remove them to eat and brush your teeth. The rubber bands can lose their elasticity quickly, so it may be necessary to replace them with new ones once or twice per day.  

Rapid Palatal Expander (RPE)

Where there are issues of crowding and a crossbite, a rapid palatal expander (RPE) can be used. An RPE is a fixed type of Orthodontic appliance that is installed by an Orthodontist. Metal bands wrap around certain teeth and are connected to a screw that runs along the roof of your mouth. The daily or weekly turning of the screw with a key expands the appliance, making your arch wider and allowing room for your teeth to align properly.

Spacers (Separators)

Spacers are small rubber bands that go between your back teeth. They are used to make room for the metal bands to be applied to your molars. 

When in place, you’ll initially feel pressure like there is a popcorn kernel stuck between your teeth. After a few days, your teeth will move and relax. When wearing spacers, you should avoid flossing the area, and eating sticky foods which may pull them out.

Holding Arches (Space Maintainers

Losing a baby tooth prematurely can cause problems when the time comes for the permanent tooth to erupt. Since teeth naturally move to close in spaces, a holding arch or space maintainer may be necessary. This appliance is used to keep the area of missing baby teeth open and allow room for the permanent teeth to come in naturally and properly at the right time.


When it comes to Orthodontics, early intervention can make a world of difference.  For example, if we diagnose your young child with a severe bite issue that is due to the position of the jaw, we can take advantage of their growing mouth to correct this problem more easily. 

This is done through the use of an appliance called a headgear. This device can potentially prevent your child from having to undergo invasive jaw surgery later in life. 

There are different kinds of headgears. A very common one is called the cervical-pull type. This appliance has a U-shaped wire that runs along the front of your face and is attached to your back teeth with rubber bands. A strap is also connected to it and worn behind your neck. 

Another appliance is the high-pull headgear, which is basically the same as the cervical pull type with the addition of a strap that goes behind and over your head.

The third kind of headgear is the reverse-pull or “facemask” type, which is typically used to correct an underbite. The appliance consists of two pads, one that rests on your forehead, and the other on your chin. The two pads are connected to each other with a vertical metal frame. Attached to the frame are rubber elastics or wires which hook to your teeth and move your jaw into the proper position. 

Twin Block Appliance

A Twin Block Appliance is another device designed to correct the positioning of the jaw and align teeth properly. Through the use of two removable retainers (one for the top arch, and one for the lower) which have special bite ramps built into them, they help guide the lower jaw forward.

Distal Jet Appliance

A “Distal Jet” is a fixed Orthodontic appliance that is used to move the upper molars back, making room for teeth that still need to erupt, or to correct overcrowding and bite issues. It’s typically used along with elastic bands.

Carriere Distalizer Appliance

When the upper jaw and teeth severely overlap the bottom jaw and teeth, a Carriere Distalizer may be used to correct the issue before braces or invisalign is installed. It can even reduce the amount of time that you are in braces or invisalign by several months.

The device is a metal or clear bar that is attached to the upper teeth on one or both sides of your mouth. An elastic band is attached from the bar to a hook placed on the cheek side of the lower back molars. This pressure guides the teeth into the correct position by bringing the top teeth backwards and the bottom teeth forwards. 

Bite Plate

A bite plate is typically used at the beginning of Orthodontic treatment to help open a deep bite. The appliance consists of an acrylic bite plate that sits in the roof of your mouth. Metal clasps are attached to it, which clip onto the inside of the top teeth. The device prevents your back teeth from touching together, allowing room for your molars to erupt as they should.


Retainers are available in different forms and are used after your Orthodontic treatment is over.  They help maintain the position of your new smile so that teeth don’t shift back to where they came from. Retainers can be permanently fixed wires that attach to the back of your teeth and secures them together like a bridge. They can also be a clear, plastic, removable appliances that you wear while you sleep.

Orthodontic Treatment in Ottawa

Don’t trust just anyone with your specific and complex Orthodontic treatment. Call the professional team of Dr. Charles Cohen and his staff today for a consultation!