If you had braces, it is likely that you have heard the term elastics (rubber bands). You probably had to wear them! Does this conjure up some fond memories for you? Memories of your parents yelling at you to put them on. Memories of your disappointed orthodontist. Memories of flinging these little rubber bands across the classroom at your friends! I know there are a few of you that are the exception but for most there is typically a cycle to your orthodontic experience that goes something like this. Keep reading to learn about motion appliances.
- You’re super excited to get your braces on!
- They hurt the first 2-3 days but then you find your routine and no problem.
- You enjoy matching colors with your friends and for holidays.
- You get to the halfway point of around 12 months and then your orthodontist tells you that you need to begin wearing rubber bands.
- They hurt at first, but you give it a shot.
- You get tired of trying to remember your rubber bands.
- Your orthodontist gives you a massive guilt trip.
- Your parents ground you for not wearing your rubber bands (amongst other things).
- Your orthodontist gives you a talk about your elastics and how it will destroy your entire life if you do not wear them better.
- You wear them better for another month.
- You are now in braces for 18 months and just want them off.
- You fear going to the orthodontist because he is going to be incredibly disappointed in your poor rubber band wear.
- You go anyways and try to wear 5 rubber bands the day before to compensate.
- Your orthodontist calls your parents back to the clinic to share that he will not be able to get your bite to be perfect without rubber bands.
- You try for another 6 months but only halfheartedly.
- Your treatment is extended, and your hygiene becomes poor.
- Your orthodontist gives up and recommends that braces come off with a less than perfect bite.
- Braces come off and you are so burnt out that you neglect to wear your retainer.
- Orthodontist has a life crisis when your teeth shift.
Listen folks! I’m tired of these mini life crises. Luckily, they rarely happen these days. That is in thanks to the technology that we have implemented as well as our treatment strategies. One of these examples in particular has been the implementation of the Motion Appliance. I am going to go in depth about the Motion Appliance in this article but let me summarize its benefits. Imagine that orthodontic cycle that I just walked you through and just take a breather. Imagine now that instead of your orthodontist telling you to start wearing your rubber bands after you have already had your braces on for 12-18 months that he/she tells you that you are nearly done! That your braces are coming off early! Imagine if you wore elastics at the very beginning of treatment and got all of the heavy lifting done in the first 6 months. What if you got to wear rubber bands before braces were even placed and you were super excited about it?! And….you were still excited to get your braces on so you wore your rubber bands really well so you can get your braces on sooner! “I know, Dr Wesley, let’s calm it down for a second here.” It is exciting and these are just some of the reasons that I find a lot of success with the Motion Appliance.
It allows me to fulfill my ultimate goal of providing you with an outstanding experience at Lifetime Orthodontics.
What is the Motion Appliance?
The Motion Appliance is an appliance used to correct a “Class II Malocclusion” (There is a Class III version that I will touch on as well). It is an awesome appliance and we have seen tremendous success with it with the patient’s in our practice. It corrects a “Class II Malocclusion” by dentoalveolar tooth movement (it moves teeth through bone, opposed to moving the bone/jaws themselves). It corrects this by 4 distinct means of movement.
- It rotates the upper molars distally (backwards)
- It tips the occlusal (biting) plane downward
- It moves the teeth distally (backwards)
- It partially move the lower teeth forward (this is usually not a desired outcome)
There is debate as to whether the Motion has any skeletal changes (changes in the relationship of the jaws). I do believe that improving the way that the teeth come together during adolescent growth can help to improve the way that the jaws grow. I do not believe that the appliance itself promotes growth. The company claims this, and you will see this in the video below. I do want to be clear that there is not any reliable research that has been published on this. That is ok, because it is still a fantastic appliance that does a much better job than rubber bands alone can do. In summary, it consistently helps to achieve our treatment goals. Watch the animation in the video below to get a better visual on how this appliance works. You will see that they discuss the jaw moving, the condyle/TMJ improving, and airway improvements. I do want to be clear that I do not support those claims and neither does any decent research. I still post it because it is a great animation to show you what it can do. I promote and use this appliance because it is still a great appliance for what it can do.
What is a “Class II Malocclusion” and a “Class III Malocclsuion”?
A “Class II” is a relationship between your upper and lower teeth. It is when the upper teeth are too far forward relative to the lower teeth. This might mean that the top teeth are too far forward or that the lower teeth are too far backward. It is all relative! It can also be a “Dental Class II” or a “Skeletal Class II”. A “Dental class II” refers to the relationship where the discrepancy is in the teeth alone (not the jaws). A “Skeletal Class II” relationship if when the jaws that house the teeth are not aligned. This might mean that the upper jaw is too far forward, or the lower jaw is too far backwards. It could be a combination of both! A “Class III Malocclusion” would be just the opposite.
This is some seriously advanced stuff for most of you that follow my blog. For this reason, I will leave the descriptions here for now but feel free to reach out in the comments if you are interested in hearing more. I will create a separate blog post to dive deeper into these concepts.
How is a Motion Appliance placed?
I’m glad you asked! Check out this video that I made to train team members at LTO. It shows you the entire process as well as the instructions. This video is 25 minutes long as I am going slow to teach all the steps in detail. It typically only takes 10 minutes to get this placed!
What can you expect while wearing your Motion Appliance?
We will review all of this when you get it placed. I also reviewed it in the video above. You will wear your rubber bands as instructed. It is usually full time unless directed otherwise. It is critical that you always wear your lower retainer when the elastics are in so that your lower teeth do not shift. You will experience the following:
- We see you at the office every 6 weeks to check your progress.
- Your front teeth (usually canines) that you attach the rubber bands to will become loose. This is good!
- You will get a space between the canine and your lateral incisor. This is great!
- We will typically give you a stronger rubber band to wear when we feel that you are ready for it.
- Your retainer may get worn down from excessive grinding. This is not great but is also not a problem. Just let us know at your next visit.
- If you do a great job wearing your rubber bands, you will finish in 3- 6months. If you do an average job, then it may take 6-9 months. If you do a poor job, then it may never happen, and we will just have to accept your bite as it is or consider more drastic treatment alternatives.
- We do not leave the spaces in the front teeth, but they are temporarily a part of the process. This is a great success to see this!
This patient is a 33 year old adult female. This means that her bone is more mature and therefore more difficult to move teeth through than a 10 year old. She had previously been told that she would need surgery. I agreed that surgery was ideal but not everyone wants surgery. Look at how awesome this correction is without surgery in just 5 months!
Benefits of the Motion Appliance
- Better rubber band compliance
- The heavy lifting is done first
- More predictable bite correction
- Better hygiene since the braces typically need to be on for a shorter time
- Better hygiene relative to other “Class II” correctors
- Quicker overall treatment time
- More efficient mechanics (orthodontist only would understand this part)
Thank you for reading!
Gerald W. Wesley, DDS, MS