Developmental Appliances



Stanley Dentistry offers developmental appliances (orthodontic services that are also known as functional appliances) to gently guide the teeth or jaw into the desired position. Developmental appliances are corrective and supportive braces that our doctors prescribe to children or teens to promote proper growth of the face, maxillary arch, and mandibular arch. In doing this, the teeth and jaw also become more naturally aligned.

Our doctors typically use developmental appliances for developing children and teenagers. Patients typically wear developmental appliances for nine to twelve months.

Maxillary Growth Appliances

The bone area that holds the upper front teeth is known as the premaxilla area. During development, this area can become deficient for a number of reasons including airway issues (i.e. mouth breathing due to allergies), improper swallowing, tongue habits, or trauma.

Our doctors use the maxillary growth appliance to promote the bones of the upper arch to grow forward. As the premaxilla grows forward, the lower jaw (or the mandible) will follow which helps to develop the face and open the airway. Depending on the patient’s needs, growth appliances can be removable or fixed.

Palate Expanders

A palate expander is used to widen the upper arch so that the bottom and upper teeth will fit together better. Palate expanders are most commonly used in children although some adults may benefit from palatal expanders.

The expansion of the mouth results in more room for your teeth and the proper function of the jaw. If your child is snoring or having trouble breathing, a palate expander may be the needed solution. If you get your child a palate expander early enough, they may not need a tooth extraction or orthodontic treatment later on.

Tongue Habit Appliance

Tongue habits develop for a number of reasons. If the tongue is not in the proper place during swallowing, eating, or talking, it can cause the mouth to abnormally form. If the mouth is abnormally formed, the teeth can become crowded, rotated, or flared with spaces. Before we can straighten the teeth, the tongue must be “retrained” to function properly. This is done with the help of an appliance placed in the mouth to guide the tongue to function properly.

Thumb Sucking Appliance

For young children, thumb sucking is a difficult habit to stop. Although many children find comfort in sucking their thumbs, it can be detrimental to the development of their jaw and face. To allow for natural development, children should stop sucking their thumb by age three. The dentists at Stanley Dentistry have lots of helpful advice to coach your child to discontinue this habit. If encouragement and coaching just don’t do the trick, we offer a thumb habit appliance that typically works.

The appliance is a small, wireframe that our doctors fix to either the roof or the bottom of the mouth. Since the appliance is solely for habit-breaking, it does little else beyond making the act of thumb sucking mildly uncomfortable. Before you know it, your child will become disinterested in thumb sucking because it doesn’t offer the same sensation. At that time, we’ll take the appliance out.