Timothy J. Alford Orthodontics for Adults and Children

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Types of Appliances

Types of Appliances

elastics (rubber bands)

Elastics (Rubber Bands)

Wearing elastics (or rubber bands) improves the fit of your upper and lower teeth. Wear rubber bands as instructed and remember that the rubber bands work far more efficiently if they're worn as prescribed.


palatal expander

Palatal Expander

The palatal expander "expands" (or widens) your upper jaw by putting gentle pressure on your upper molars each time an adjustment is made. Your orthodontist will instruct you about when and how to adjust your expander. When you achieve the desired expansion, you will wear the appliance for several months to solidify the expansion and to prevent regression.




Positioners complete the final tooth movements in your orthodontic treatment. With your full cooperation, you should only need to wear the positioner appliance for 4-8 weeks.




Retainers may be removable or fixed. They hold your teeth in their new, correct positions after your teeth have been straightened. Your orthodontist will instruct you on how to care for your retainer and about the duration of the wear. Wearing your retainer as directed is crucial to prevent regression of your treatment.

Visit the retainers page to learn more on how to care for your retainer »


bonded retainer

Bonded Retainer

The Bonded (fixed) Retainer captures teeth and holds in position the day braces are removed. It is glued to the backside of the lower front six teeth. This takes compliance out of the equation.


separator separator

Separators or Spacers

Separators are little metal or rubber doughnuts that may be placed between your teeth to push them apart so that orthodontic bands may be placed during your next appointment.

Dr. Alford will decide which kind will work best for your treatment. The separators will be removed before we place the bands.

Separators do not mix well with sticky foods, toothpicks, or floss.




The Mara (Mandibular Anterior Repositioning Appliance) reduces overbite by encouraging the lower jaw forward and the upper molars backward. This fixed appliance is used for younger, growing children and is worn for about 12-15 months. Forsus Springs and the Carrierr appliance are sometimes used instead of a Mara. Dr. Alford will determine which is best for you.

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