Removable orthodontic appliance

    Last updated date: 02-Mar-2023

    Originally Written in English

    Removable orthodontic appliance

    Removable orthodontic appliance

    When it comes to teeth alignment issues, wearing braces is not the only alternative. Other simple gadgets can help straighten the teeth, but they often need extra care. They are known as removable dental appliances or removable orthodontic appliances. Mouthguards, dentures, and retainers are a few examples. 


    Removable orthodontic appliances

    Removable orthodontic appliances are usually manufactured in a reputable orthodontics laboratory. Hence, one can’t easily access them in dental clinics. Every device is meticulously designed to suit a patient's teeth accurately. These removable orthodontic appliances are available in a variety of forms and can help with various teeth alignment issues. Furthermore, they can be used as a snoring solution, allowing you to have a good night's sleep by wearing one. 

    The success of removable orthodontic appliances is mostly determined by the appliance's retention. A detachable orthodontic appliance's retention is improved by including particular wire components known as clasps that engage the undercuts on the teeth. Clasps are the retaining elements of removable orthodontic equipment. There are several clasp designs that are recommended for specific therapeutic conditions.

    Removable appliances should be worn at all times; they should only be removed for sports and cleaning. You may feel uncomfortable at first after the detachable brace installation since some space in your mouth is taken by a plastic plate, but don't worry, you'll get used to it quickly.

    Because your brain interprets the presence of braces as food and begins to slaver, your mouth may generate more saliva than normal after braces installation; this state may last 1 to 2 days. Your doctor should examine and modify your appliance on a regular basis. If you have discomfort or irritation around your tongue, gums, or cheek, your doctor can adjust your braces.

    Removable braces can be made of acrylic plate and stainless steel wire, or they can be made of other materials, such as transparent braces. If your teeth only require little movement, a detachable device can fix them in 3 to 6 months; however, if you have more significant issues, such as a misaligned jaw or a big gap between your teeth, the treatment period may take many years. The purpose of a detachable device is to return teeth to their original place while also extending the jaw bone to support teeth.


    Types of Removable Orthodontic Appliance 

    Removable orthodontic appliances aim at correcting minor malocclusion situations. This is because the force amount placed by the orthodontic appliances is relatively light and variable as with the fixed braces. Therefore, the orthodontist carefully plans and prepares for removable orthodontic appliances in the chosen cases since it’s associated with a number of limitations that should be kept in mind before providing the removable appliances. 

    Orthodontists can give the removable appliances in three different scenarios, including pre-treatment, mild treatment, and post-treatment. This aims at keeping the changes obtained through fixed treatment. However, they are only applicable in mild situations, including minor rotation of one tooth in which fingerprint is used. 

    The following are the various types of removable orthodontic appliances, alongside the functions:




    Retainers are either fixed orthodontic appliances or removable. In any case, their primary function is to keep the teeth aligned after removing the braces. The orthodontist will instruct you on the duration you need to wear them and how to care for them. You can take them whenever you want to feed or brush your teeth. However, always remember to clean or rinse the retainers as well. Lastly, ensure that you wear as instructed since they are essential in preventing regression. 


    Palatal expanders 

    Palatal expanders 

    Palatal expanders, like retainers, are also fixed and removable. Typically, age determines whether or not you will receive the removable version. The fixed version is best suited to older children. 

    Palatal expanders are thus devices used to extend the upper jaw by gently pressing on the upper molars. It’s usually adjusted daily, and with every adjustment, you will experience gentle pressure over again. Typically, patients are recommended to wear palatal expanders for a few months before reaching the optimal outcome. 


    Space maintainers 

    Space maintainers 

    Place maintainers aid in the preservation of space for permanent teeth. If your child loses a baby tooth before the permanent tooth is set to erupt, he or she may require one. Also, when the primary tooth is lost before time, adult teeth can grow into space rather than where they should. If more adult teeth are set to emerge, there won’t be enough space in the mouth due to the missing space. To avoid this, the dentist can suggest a space maintainer keep the space left open by the missing tooth. 




    An overbite caused by a small lower jaw located further back than it should is a typical orthodontic problem. The Herbst appliance refers to an orthodontic system that facilitates lower jaw development in order to correct bite problems. It is secured to the teeth with cemented bands which usually need no cleaning or modification. 

    Depending on the seriousness of the condition, an orthodontic appointment may be needed for modifications. Patients notice quick improvements and enjoy the advantages of having straight teeth and a well-aligned jaw. Although the mouth can still open and shut easily, the Herbst system stops the lower jaw from going backward. 

    The cemented bands are helpful in binding the appliance to the upper and lower jaw's back molars. Biting and chewing might feel strange or painful at first, but these sensations will improve as the mouth and jaw adjust to the appliance. 


    Full dentures 

    Full dentures 

    Full dentures are usually the only option in case a person loses all of the teeth. Aside from restoring the teeth and smile, full dentures can also help to slow bone loss. If you're nervous about them coming off, then you can use magnets to hold them in place.




    Headgears are one kind of removable orthopedic device that aids in the correction of growth discrepancies. It is occasionally used to fix an excess overbite. This is accomplished by applying pressure to the upper jaw and teeth, which holds the teeth in place or helps shift them into better areas. The duration of time the headgear should be worn is determined by the seriousness of the problem. Consistency is the solution to success for the headgear appliance. The headgear should be used for a particular amount of hours per day; otherwise, it needs to be patched up the next day. It’s, however, essential to note that headgear should never be worn when engaging in sports. Besides, one should remove them when feeding or cleaning teeth.




    Mouthguards are mouthpieces that are commonly used on athletes. They normally put them on to shield their teeth from potential injuries caused by strong impacts.


    Tongue thrust dental guard 

    Tongue thrust dental guard 

    Some people have a habit of thrusting their tongues. The forward pressure of the tongue will cause the front teeth to move. A tongue thrust dental guard should thus be worn to keep the tongue's pressure from impacting the front teeth. 


    Overall Benefits of Removable Orthodontic Appliance 

    Some of the primary advantages of removable orthodontic appliances include; 

    • The devices are easily removable anytime you want to take them off.
    • Removable appliances are helpful in growth guidance, especially in the case of skeletal deformity during the growth period.
    • The removable orthodontic appliances can be applied as a muscle exerciser.
    • Removable appliances are much safer since excess or increased force is not applicable. This means it won’t pose any harm and instead facilitates slow movements; hence promoting bone remodeling.
    • In case of damage to the removable appliance, one doesn’t necessarily have to go to the dentist. Instead, you can remove it to prevent additional damages and unnecessary force.
    • It’s relatively easy to achieve tilting and tipping movements with removable appliances.
    • They are less conspicuous.
    • They are simple to use, and a general practitioner with proper training may do them.
    • Because they are fabricating in the lab, your chair-side time will be limited.
    • They are not expensive.


    Limitations of Removable Orthodontic Appliance 

    The optimum appliance is chosen by the orthodontist based on the abnormality of the teeth and jaws. Some malocclusions are treated with detachable appliances, while others require fixed appliances.

    There are several limitations of removable orthodontic appliances. As such, the dentists perform the procedure with care to prevent some of the related problems. These disadvantages can include the following; 

    • It’s possible to correct single tooth rotation but not many rotations. When repairing the rotations, it’s essential to first make some room for teeth alignment following rotation. 
    • It’s only possible to correct simple malocclusion, including tipping and rotation. 
    • Bodily movement is difficult. For you to attain body mobility, lots of forces require to be applied on the tooth at a certain point that is impossible with a removable appliance. Therefore, body movement is unattainable. 
    • Ultimate teeth alignment is impossible. This means that one can keep the aligned teeth in place until the strength of the bone is obtained. However, teeth alignment is impossible using removable appliances. 
    • The treatment period is likely to be extended for patients who require multiple tooth movements such as tilting and rotation. This is because few limited movements can be conducted at a go. 
    • The patient will experience speech difficulties during the first stages. Usually, it takes a while to adjust to the new appliance in the mouth, requiring constant practice. This includes reading aloud to make the right pronunciation. 
    • Patient compliance with the removable appliance is highly essential. When the device is not well adjusted during the procedures, it could result in uncontrollable teeth tipping that worsens the occlusion. 
    • It is impossible to move the posterior teeth into the gaps that remain after extraction. This is because of the low forces applied by the removable appliances. 
    • Removable orthodontic appliances are not suitable for severe cases since they need high levels of force that these appliances can’t exert. 


    Tooth movement with removable appliances

    There are three types of removable appliances for tooth movement.


    The first category includes raising the perimeter of the arch or expanding the arch. A jackscrew is installed in the acrylic plate and the acrylic component of the detachable appliance corporates and keeps the other sections of the acrylic plate together. The jackscrew is an active component of the expansion plate. The screw generates a lot of force, which decays quickly. When the jackscrew is opened 14 turns, the tooth movement is 0.25 mm.


    Second Category, individual teeth inside the arch can be repositioned. In this scenario, the spring is intended to move individual teeth. The retentive components are the clasps. Retentive clap include the Adams Clasp, Circumferential Clasp, and Lingual Extension Clasp, which may all be changed in the clinic.


    The third category is tooth intrusion or extrusion. Removable orthodontic appliances are used to prevent encroachment based on the orthodontist's diagnosis. Anterior or posterior bite plates play an active role in an orthodontic removable device and can be utilized as invasive mechanics.


    How to Care for the Removable Orthodontic Appliance?

    removable appliances

    Every removable orthodontic appliance ought to be worn exactly as directed. First, they need to be cleaned using toothpaste at least once per day. If you take them out when eating or playing, ensure that you put them in their container. Avoid keeping them in the pocket or napkin as they might get broken or disposed of.

    Overall, the dentists will give you the necessary instructions to follow based on the types of removable appliances. It’s thus essential to ensure that you strictly adhere to them to achieve the best possible outcome. 


    How to Clean A Removable Orthodontic Appliance?

    Removable orthodontic appliances, such as Invisalign, are increasingly being used to straighten misaligned teeth. Traditional brace wearers frequently employ removable items, like a retainer, to maintain alignment once the braces are removed. But don't merely rinse or soak your equipment in a tray at the end of the day. Proper cleaning and maintenance are essential for maintaining your dental health.

    Plaque can build upon an orthodontic device in the same way as it does on teeth. Follow these guidelines for taking care of a removable orthodontic device.

    Common Cleaning Methods: Invisible and acrylic appliances share these cleaning methods in common:

    1. Remove and rinse the appliance before cleaning. It is critical to rinse while the mouth is still wet with saliva to eliminate debris before it dries and hardens into a difficult-to-remove crust.
    2. Brush your appliance with a soft bristle toothbrush or denture brush in the morning, before night, and after each meal. In lukewarm water, use a light cleaner, such as dish soap. It may appear weird to apply soap on an orthodontic device rather than toothpaste. But toothpaste is abrasive. You don't want to scratch your appliance's surface. 
    3. Scrub all of the appliance's surfaces carefully in a circular motion to remove plaque and food particles.
    4. To clean deep grooves and ridges, use cotton swabs dampened with lukewarm, soapy water.
    5. If soaking is indicated to disinfect and efficiently eliminate microorganisms, consult your orthodontist about the best cleaner to use. Denture cleaning pills are often used. The majority of soaking techniques are basic and straightforward. A number of denture cleansing pills include recommendations such as soaking a single tablet in a cup of lukewarm water. After the pill has completely dissolved, add the appliance and soak for the time specified.


    Sticky Food Dilemma: 

    Anyone who wears a detachable orthodontic device has been told by their dentist to avoid foods such as caramel and bubble gum. In reality, hardly everyone needs this counsel. Especially when it comes to young people. The need to chew gum might be overwhelming at times.

    What should you do if you find a sticky substance on an orthodontic appliance?

    • Cleaning with a toothbrush or denture brush and a light cleaner should be done according to the normal operating procedure.
    • Place the device in the freezer for about 10-15 minutes after removing as much of the sticky gunk as possible. Once the sticky substance has hardened, clean with a brush and mild soap once more.
    • If the appliance is still clinging to the sticky substance, it's time to seek expert guidance from your orthodontist.


    Kick the Crust:

    Have you ever set aside an item with every intention of cleaning it thoroughly, only to get distracted by something else? Then, all of a sudden, the appliance is coated with a dried crust of food particles. Perhaps you've had your retainer for a while and it's developed a hardened plaque buildup.

    • Soak the appliance in a mix of equal parts warm water and white vinegar for 15-20 minutes.
    • Remove from soak and scrub gently in a circular motion with a toothbrush and light cleanser.
    • Rep the soaking procedure.
    • Repeat the brush cleaning process.
    • If crust persists after the third round, consult your orthodontist for further advice.


    Stay Committed to Clean: 

    Don't underestimate the importance of keeping your orthodontic appliance clean for your health. It is continually gathering germs and accumulating plaque and tartar while in use. A dirty appliance will taste and smell strange.

    Bacterial growth can lead to infectious health issues caused by pathogens such as Streptococci and Candida. These infections are very dangerous to the immune system. Proper orthodontic appliance maintenance not only keeps your breath fresh, but it also contributes to greater overall health.


    Removable Orthodontics FAQ

    1. Can Patients Choose the Type of Orthodontic Treatment?

    The specialist determines which appliance should be recommended to the patient based on the kind of misaligned teeth.


    2. How long is the Duration of Removable Orthodontic Treatment?

    The duration of therapy is determined by the type of malocclusion, its severity, tooth crowding, jaw alignment, and other factors. In certain circumstances, both permanent and detachable braces are employed. During the initial session, the orthodontist predicts the expected treatment time.


    3. When should patients use removable orthodontics?

    Removable orthodontics is used in two situations: first, to correct the jaws, and second, as retainers at the completion of fixed orthodontic treatment.


    4. Fixed Orthodontics Vs. Removable Orthodontics?

    If the misaligned jaws are to be rectified, removable orthodontics should be utilized; if the teeth are to be moved, fixed orthodontics should be employed.


    5. Can I Eat with Removable Orthodontics?

    Before eating, it is best to remove the removable orthodontics. Replace the detachable orthodontics in your mouth immediately after eating and cleaning your teeth. To have healthier and cleaner teeth, a nutritious diet is necessary. Consume vitamin and mineral-rich foods. Avoid foods that are sticky or firm, as well as those that have a low nutritional value.


    6- What are beverages to Avoid with Removable Orthodontics?

    Remove your removable orthodontics before ingesting carbonated beverages, sweets, energy drinks, or colorful beverages. Replace the detachable orthodontics in your mouth as soon as you finish cleaning your teeth.



    As the name suggests, removable orthodontic appliance refers to the dental devices that one can easily remove when eating and put them back afterward. Dentists often recommend them to correct minor teeth and jaw problems. Alternatively, it can be used following orthodontic treatment to promote a straight and attractive smile. 

    They are custom-made to suit your mouth and help with your orthodontic treatment plan. They were capable of correcting simple malocclusions. Your orthodontic treatment plan will be created by your orthodontist. In general, they are classified into two groups. The first category is appropriate for basic tooth motions. The second type of removable orthodontic device is designed to move the jaw.

    However, the overall effectiveness of removable orthodontic appliances mainly depends on the cooperation of the patients. While there are several limitations associated with the procedure, extensive care and adhering to the dentist’s instructions reduces them. This also contributes to achieving the desired results. 

    In general, the treatment time for detachable braces is less than that of permanent equipment. In certain cases, both fixed and detachable appliances can be utilized indefinitely. The doctor will establish the approximate time for your therapy during the initial session.

    Following the removal of fixed braces, you should wear clear plastic retainers for a period of time to keep your teeth in their new position.