Types of Appliances

Just as no two smiles are the same, no two treatment plans are the same.

When Dr. Senties creates your treatment plan, it’s 100% personalized to you. Based on your current condition and his assessment during your free consultation, Dr. Senties will advise you on the best treatment approach for your case and help you make an informed decision about you or your child’s smile. 

Your treatment plan may include any of the following appliances to maximize the efficiency of your braces or Invisalign® treatment.

Palatal Expander

In cases where the back teeth don’t fit together properly, or the upper jaw doesn’t have sufficient space for all permanent teeth to emerge without crowding or overlapping each other, a palatal expander may be used. This appliance is commonly used in early treatment with young patients, because it’s most effective when the teeth and jaw bones are still developing.  

The palatal expander appliance widens the upper jaw through a cranking mechanism. This appliance has a screw that sits in the roof of the mouth with metal bands that exert gentle outward pressure on the upper molars to expand the jaw.

Palatal expanders can help prevent or correct teeth crowding and chewing functionality problems, as well as improve breathing and sleeping in some cases.   


The teeth positioner appliance is a custom-made aligner used as the final step following a treatment, like braces or Invisalign®. This appliance is generally used for about 1 to 2 months and helps to maximize the effectiveness of treatment by solidifying the end results and supporting the teeth in their new position.


After your treatment with braces or Invisalign is complete, you’ll wear a retainer to maintain your beautiful new smile. Retainers can be removable or fixed (“permanent”) and are essential for preventing the teeth from shifting back to their original, pre-treatment position.

Immediately after treatment, it’s best that you wear your retainer for 24 hours, through the day and night. Over time, you’ll be able to reduce your wear to nights only. Dr. Senties will tell you everything you need to know about proper retainer wear when you’re nearing the end of your treatment!

Elastics (Rubber Bands)

Elastics are tiny rubber band appliances used with braces or Invisalign® treatment. These are very common and are effective for aligning the teeth and/or jaw bones to treat malocclusions (underbites, overbites, crossbite and openbites). They also play a big role in some cases when spaces between the teeth need to be closed. 

Dr. Senties and his team hill show you how to use rubber bands if they need to be a part of your treatment. It is very important that you wear them as indicated for the best and fastest results!

TAD (Temporary Anchorage Device)

Temporary anchorage devices, or TADs, are small titanium anchors used to achieve quicker tooth movement with more efficiency and comfort. TADs can be used with braces, Invisalign®, or as an alternative to headgear.

These small appliances are anchored into the jaw bone, and then fastened to your teeth or braces with different hardware as needed in order to make possible the tooth and jaw movements that are planned for your treatment. 

If your child requires a temporary anchorage device, in most cases Dr. Senties will place it himself. If the procedure is more involved and requires more invasive surgery, Dr. Senties will refer you to a trusted oral surgeon who will place the TAD in an outpatient setting.


The Forsus™ Fatigue Resistant Device, treats “overbite” conditions by promoting a healthy alignment between the upper and lower teeth.

This appliance uses high-quality 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 shouldn’t require any maintenance until it’s removed. The patient just has to keep it as clean as possible.

Herbst® Appliance

Similar to the Forsus appliance, the Herbst® appliance is used to correct “overbites” by shifting the lower jaw forward and the upper jaw backward.

The Herbst appliance is generally used for younger patients with growing mouths and can be used with or without braces (although most often it is used with braces). Made of stainless steel bands, the Herbst appliance wraps around the molars, applying pressure to the jaw bones to promote proper development and create a healthy jaw alignment.

Separators or Spacers

Spacers, or separators, are small rubber circles that help to create the necessary space for braces to be put on the back teeth. Braces and other appliances sometimes have metal bands that are placed around the molars to hold the archwire 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 treatment with braces or other appliances begins.

Have questions about types of appliances?

We’re here to answer your questions, and we want you to know your options! Please don’t hesitate to reach out to us

Dr. Senties and our experienced team are here to help guide you throughout your treatment process, from your first visit to your last visit.

Ready to begin your smile transformation process? Let’s get started with your complimentary exam at our convenient San Antonio location!