Removable Orthodontic

What is Removable Orthodontic Appliances

a girl using removable orthodontics at dental office

Removable orthodontic appliances are another technique and category in orthodontics used to deal with malocclusions. There is a difference between fixed orthodontic appliances and removable orthodontic appliances. Here’s a slight overview of why, the latter does not stick into the patient’s teeth, so they are free to remove the appliances from their mouth whenever they need to. Removable orthodontic appliances are designed based on your mouth size and in a way that helps your orthodontic treatment plan as much as possible. Please note that it is your orthodontist who plans your orthodontic treatment and again it is him/her who finally decides whether or not you need to use removable orthodontic appliances.

Commonly, removable orthodontic appliances are divided into two groups: the first group is appropriate for simple dental movements, while the second one often is designed and used for moving either the mandible or the maxilla. Using their springs, screws and other mechanical parts, the appliances are aimed at applying a certain amount of pressure to teeth and jaws.

movable orthodontics for simple tooth movement
Movable orthodontics for simple tooth movement

When should removable orthodontic appliances be used?

Although removable orthodontic appliances can be used for any age group or under any condition, some disorders are treated using removable orthodontic appliances, while the others to be treated need fixed orthodontic appliances. Since to be treated with removable orthodontics seems considerably easier than treating with fixed orthodontics, most people prefer to use the former.

In general, removable orthodontics is a better option for conditions in which the dental disorders are minimal. People whose dental and teeth complications are abnormal and excessive cannot use the treatment and need to refer to fixed orthodontics. Therefore, primarily, it may be used to get rid of minimal disorders including filling interdental gaps, fixing crooked teeth with minimal problems and also to extend oral space. However, it must be noted that the final decision about the type of orthodontics, considering different aspects and factors, is made by the orthodontist.

Advantages of the Removable Orthodontic Appliances

Compared to the past removable orthodontic appliances have become significantly limited. However, here we refer to some advantages of the appliances:

  • You can remove the removable plates for cleaning and then start to wash them using a soft toothbrush and detergents.
  • They are some more convenient devices in contrast to the fixed orthodontic appliances to complete the small dental movements.
  • You can remove them from your mouth temporarily when you are suffering from intolerable pain.
  • Removable orthodontic appliances are prepared in a lab, so patients do not wait a very long time.
  • The cost for the removable orthodontic appliances is not very expensive.
a woman having removable orthodontics on her teeth

Limitations of Removable Orthodontic Appliances

  • They are only practical and useful for simple disorders.
  • Removable orthodontic appliances cannot fix the multiple disorders and rotations.
  • Patients who cannot bear it for a long time, may avoid using removable orthodontic appliances sometime during their treatment course.
  • Low-quality removable orthodontic appliances are inconvenient and intolerable.

Removable orthodontic appliances for children

Removable orthodontic appliances for children are used separately for the mandible and maxilla. It is necessary to note that using Removable orthodontic appliances for children is useful to prevent dental crowding and also helps to correct the growth of other teeth considerably. The following is a list of the most common advantages of removable orthodontic appliances for children:

  • They are inexpensive and cost-effective.
  • You can start the treatment from a very young age, this is what is recommended too
  • They can be imaged in certain conditions.
  • Dental care including brushing teeth can be carried out very easily.
smiling kid having removable orthodontics on

Are removable orthodontic appliances appropriate for adults?

It completely depends on your orthodontist’s judgment after completing the necessary analyses before the treatment inception. In most cases, the removable orthodontic treatment is recommended for children and teens, however, if adults use this sort of treatment, they would need more time to achieve an ideal result.

Phases of Removable Orthodontic Appliances

Removable orthodontic appliances are a sort of treatment used to fix the jaws and/or teeth and it usually lasts for six months to two years. Different phases of the removable orthodontic appliances are completed for those patients who are of younger ages. They are free to remove the removable orthodontic appliances from their mouth and then put them in their mouth whenever they feel it is necessary. Here you can read about the different phases of using removable orthodontic appliances:

Consultation and dental examination by the orthodontist

Occasionally, the dentist and patient may talk regarding different phases of the removable orthodontic treatment in the first session. In this session, regarding the disorders of the patient’s jaw, orthodontists will decide the approximate time needed to fix their problems. During the removable orthodontic treatment, the type of jaws’ disorders will directly influence the time needed to fix them. The best age for orthodontics to straighten teeth and fixing malocclusion is before puberty.

Molding the teeth

Teeth need to be moulded before using removable orthodontic appliances. Usually, molding takes about 10 minutes. After that, the removable orthodontic appliances will be fabricated in a lab and then an appropriate time for therapy beginning will be set.

removable orthodontics in dentist hands

 Putting the removable orthodontic appliances over the teeth

Your orthodontist will set the fabricated plates over your teeth. Subsequently, you will be trained on how and when you need to remove or put them again in your mouth. In this phase of removable orthodontic treatment, you may feel a little inconvenience because of having an external thing on your tooth. Certainly, you will experience some problems while speaking or eating during the first days of your therapy. Please remember that feeling pain is completely normal in this condition, but it will dwindle over time. Most orthodontists recommend their patients to increase their oral movements to get accustomed to their new plates in a better and sooner way; for example, they are recommended to sing or to talk more.

Plates’ hygiene and how they are kept are also very important. Remember that very hot water is not good for cleaning or washing the orthodontic plates, because it will damage them. Usually proper solutions for washing plates are for patients to use them.

Increasing the arch of the maxilla using the removable orthodontic appliances

If you are using a screwed removable orthodontic appliance, you are expected to use the special wrench given to you by your orthodontist. The wrench is used to increase the arch of your maxilla to enhance the palatal space or the space of the upper jaw. To do that, you have to enter the wrench inside the hole embedded in the center of the plate (as shown in the picture) and then rotate it in the direction shown by the yellow arrow. It needs to take one-fourth of a full round from the end of the arrow to its tip. Given the screwed plates, to unscrew the screws you have to follow the directions at certain times. It must be repeated once a week, however depending on the patient’s condition it can be completed every two or three weeks once.

woman using a wrench to adjust a movable orthodontic screw
Using the special wrench to adjust the screw in removable orthodontic

Regular visits to examine and monitor the treatment procedure

Generally, patients need to visit their orthodontist every 45 days once to let him/her examine and reset their orthodontic plates and to analyze their treatment procedure. In this phase, plates will be examined by the orthodontist to fix any potential problem and to consider other health aspects.

At the end of the treatment, when all of their malocclusions and disorders have been fixed, the patient is allowed to remove plates. What is very important in terms of the effectiveness of the removable orthodontic treatment phases is that patients are warned to void removing their plates repeatedly. Removal of plates only during eating meals is allowed. Removal of plates for long periods during the daytime will decrease the potential effect of the treatment on the one hand and will make the treatment term longer, on the other hand.

Removable Orthodontic Appliances FAQ

How long does removable orthodontic treatment take?

Generally, treatment duration depends on the type of disorder, the severity of the problem, the crowding condition of teeth, the jaw’s slope, etc. The approximate time for treatment varies from six months to two years, which will be determined in the first session by your orthodontist.

When would a patient use removable orthodontic appliances?

Removable orthodontic appliances are used in two cases: one for moving jaws and two as a retainer at the end of a fixed orthodontic treatment.

Is it possible to eat while removable orthodontic appliances are in my mouth?

It is recommended to remove your removable orthodontic appliances before starting to eat something. Put them again in your mouth immediately after eating, washing and cleaning your removable orthodontic plates.

What liquids are forbidden to drink while you have removable orthodontic plates?

Before drinking certain drinks like carbonated drinks, sweet drinks and energy drinks with pigments, please take out your removable orthodontic plates. After cleaning your teeth, put them again in your mouth.

Dr Abdolreza Jamilian Orthodontist

About Dr Abdolreza Jamilian Orthodontist

Dr. Jamilian, an orthodontist, has a specialized fellowship in orthodontic surgery and maxillofacial abnormalities and is a professor in the orthodontics department of the Dentistry School of the Islamic Azad University. He is member of Iranian and European Board of Orthodontics (EBO) and is a member of the Iranian, American and European Orthodontists Association.

4 thoughts on “What is Removable Orthodontic Appliances

  1. Avatar Andy says:

    I love reading your site.

    1. دکتر جمیلیان دکتر جمیلیان says:


  2. Avatar Mason says:


    1. دکتر جمیلیان دکتر جمیلیان says:

      That is very kind of you

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