Types of Appliances

youngmaleTo successfully complete your orthodontic treatment plan, patients must work together with Dr. McElhinney and the orthodontic staff. The teeth and jaws can only move toward their corrected positions if the patient properly cares for their braces and consistently wears the elastics (rubber bands), headgear or other appliances as prescribed.

Forsus Appliance

Dr. McElhinney offers a comfortable and efficient alternative to rubber band wear especially for those patients who will require a longer a period of rubber band wear. The Forsus appliance is specifically designed to help move your teeth to the doctor’s recommended position. It works much the same way as rubber bands but you don’t have to change them constantly. It works around the clock, using continuous gentle forces to move the teeth in the desired position. It will accommodate normal mouth opening, eating and speaking. It stays away from your teeth when you open and closes your mouth. The same rules apply to the forsus as for braces when it comes to the foods you will avoid eating.

Elastics (Rubber Bands)

Wearing elastics (rubber bands) improves the relationship of your upper and lower teeth. Many times rubber bands are used to close spaces or settle the bite. The patient is responsible for the wear of these elastics to ensure the treatment result and time table. Compliance with the recommended elastic wear schedule will assure the best results in the shortest amount of time.

Herbst® Appliance

Rarely prescribed, the Herbst appliance reduces overbite by encouraging the lower jaw forward and the upper molars backward. This fixed appliance is used mostly for younger, growing children and is worn for about twelve to fifteen months.


Occasionally, especially in early treatment, Dr. McElhinney may suggest the use of an expander. Palatal expanders widen the jaw by using your teeth as a “handle” to apply pressure across the growing site in the middle of the roof of the mouth. We will instruct you and your family about when and how to adjust your expander. When you achieve the desired expansion, you will wear the appliance for three months to solidify the expansion and to prevent loss of the correction.


Separators are little rubber doughnuts that are placed between your teeth to move them apart so that orthodontic bands (attached to your expander) may be placed during your next appointment. The separators will be removed before we place the bands. If you need help replacing a lost separator, click here for instructions.