There are various types of removable dental appliances that support the treatment of crooked teeth or misaligned jaws. Listed below are a few of the most popular ones.

Palatal Expander

palatal expanderThe 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.

Space Maintainers

A wire or piece of plastic connected to the teeth which serve to preserve or create space for other teeth where a tooth has fallen out. These appliances prevent future crowding or misalignment.

Habit Appliance

A palatal crib,  can be worn to curb the thumb sucking habit in small children. The appliance makes it difficult to keep the thumb in the mouth.

A tongue crib or bonded “reminder” cleats can be placed to help patients who exhibit a tongue posturing or tongue thrust habit.


After braces are removed, the teeth still have tendency to move around a bit as a natural part of the growth process. Retainers are removable appliances that are used to prevent this kind of shifting. A removable retainer fits around your upper and/or lower teeth and holds them in their positions so long as you are wearing your retainer as directed by your orthodontist.

TMJ Splints

Also known as deprogramming splints. This is a custom removable acrylic splint that may help alleviate temporomandibular joint disorder symptoms. This therapy is sometimes required prior to beginning orthodontics. Please let Dr. Shamlian know if you have a history of jaw joint pain.

Mouth Guards and Night Guards

Mouth guards are removable, plastic appliances that fit over the teeth to protect your teeth during sports. They also protect the tongue and jaw and can prevent head injuries such as concussions.

Another form of a mouth guard is a night guard or bite guard. While sleeping, some people have a tendency to clench and grind their teeth, a condition known as bruxism. This can cause permanent damage to the teeth such as wear of the enamel, chipping and crazing of the teeth, and even cracking a tooth. A night guard can be worn to reduce the grinding damage and help relax the muscles of the jaw during the night.  Please let Dr. Shamlian know if you have any of these symptoms.



Headgear is a removable appliance generally worn after school and  during sleep hours to limit upper jaw growth in certain patients with a particular overbite. Headgear helps to prevent further forward growth of your upper teeth and jaw.