Orthodontic Appliances Mt Airy, MD

Fixed and Removable Appliances

Band & Loop (B & L)

A Band & Loop is routinely used to hold space for a missing primary (baby) posterior (back) tooth until the permanent tooth can grow in.



Lower Holding Arch (LHA)

A lower holding arch is a space maintainer for the lower teeth. It maintains the molars where they are and does not move them. We fabricate it by placing bands on the molars and connecting them to a wire that fits up against the inside of the lower teeth.
It keeps the molars from migrating forward and prevents them from blocking off the space for teeth that develop later. We use this when you have the early loss of baby teeth or when you have lower teeth that are slightly crowded in a growing child and you do not want to remove any permanent teeth to correct the crowding.


Palatal Expander

We place an appliance on the roof of the mouth to widen the upper dental arch. The maxilla, or upper dental arch, is joined in the center by a joint, which allows it to be painlessly separated and spread.

Temporarily you may see a space develop between the upper two front teeth. This will slowly go away in a few days. Once this has occurred, the two halves knit back together, and new bone fills in the space.




A universally used retainer with many applications; to move teeth, close spaces, and maintain alignment during or after treatment.


This appliance maintains the position of the maxillary molars without using any other teeth. The plastic button on the palate provides stability.



 orthodontic appliances in Mt. Airy, MarylandAt the completion of the active phase of orthodontic treatment, braces are removed, and removable appliances called retainers are placed. To retain means to hold. Teeth must be retained or held in their new positions while the tissues, meaning the bone, elastic membranes around the roots, the gums, tongue, and lips have adapted themselves to the new tooth positions. Teeth can move if they are not retained. It is extremely important to wear your retainers as directed!

MARA Appliance

MARA is short for ‘Mandibular Anterior Repositioning Appliance.’ It’s what we call a functional appliance, used on adolescents during their growth spurt when the lower jaw is too short, or “deficient”. By holding the lower jaw forward, the goal of the
MARA helps promote the forward growth of the lower jaw. Typically, you will use the appliance for 9-12 months.

Facemask or Night Brace

The facemask is a type of “reverse-pull” headgear that aims to correct a child’s underbite, when this is caused in part by the lower jaw being longer than the upper jaw. This appliance is worn in the evenings and during sleep time to help promote the forward growth of the upper jaw and is typically used between the ages of 8-10 years old.


Sometimes, we recommend removable retainers that you can take in and out. Other times, we may recommend a lower bar called a ‘fixed bonded retainer’ or a combination of both. We’ll decide this on a case-by-case basis.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the difference between fixed and removable orthodontic appliances?

Fixed appliances attach to your teeth. You can only take them off once treatment is complete. Braces are a great example. They’re great for making specific adjustments to the teeth.

On the other hand, you can take out removable appliances when you eat or brush your teeth. They’re typically for less severe cases and can be more comfortable. However, they do require discipline to wear them. Your orthodontist will help you decide the best option for your needs.

Are fixed or removable retainers better?

Both fixed and removable retainers have their pros and cons. The “better” option depends on your patient’s needs and lifestyle. Fixed retainers are great because they’re always working. Orthodontists glue them to the back of your teeth. However, they can be tough to clean around. You can take out removable retainers when you eat or brush your teeth. However, fixed retainers require discipline because you have to remember to wear them. Your orthodontist will help you decide which type is best for you.

Does a lower lingual holding arch hurt?

A lower lingual holding arch, or LLHA, shouldn’t cause significant pain. When your orthodontist places it, you might feel discomfort or pressure. It might also take a few days to adjust to the feeling of the appliance in your mouth. If you’re feeling persistent pain, let your orthodontist know. They may need to make adjustments. Everyone’s experience is different, and what feels uncomfortable for one person might not bother another. It’s best to talk with your orthodontist about any concerns.

How long will it take to adjust to a palate expander?

Adjusting to a palate expander usually takes about a week or two. Most people adjust to the feeling within a week or two. Speaking and eating may be challenging at first. You could experience a sensation of pressure each time the expander adjusts. However, these challenges usually lessen as your mouth adapts. Ask your orthodontist for tips or adjustments if the palate expander does not adjust.

What is the best age for a palate expander?

The best age for a palate expander is generally between 7 and 10. This is the age range when the jawbones are still growing. However, some doctors may recommend an expander earlier if your child has severe overcrowding or requires corrective orthodontic treatment. Ultimately, talking to your dentist about what age might be most beneficial for your child is important.

Are palatal expanders painful?

While palatal expanders can cause some discomfort, they are generally not painful. When your orthodontist adjusts the expander, you might feel pressure in your mouth or near your nose. You might also feel the pressure between your eyes. Over-the-counter pain relievers can help manage any discomfort. If you’re experiencing persistent pain, contact your orthodontist as soon as possible.

Can I still chew with a MARA Appliance?

A MARA appliance, just like any orthodontic appliance, will take some time to adjust to. The inside of the cheek may become sore when the appliance is first placed, but the orthodontist can give you wax, cotton pads, or a mouth rinse to help with the soreness. This usually goes away within a week. The other challenge with the MARA is learning how to properly bite with the appliance. In general, most patients quickly adapt to chewing and eating with the appliance within 24 hours and become used to the feel of the appliance within a week. As with other orthodontic appliances, you should take care with the types of food you eat during treatment. You should avoid hard and chewy foods as the appliance can become loose.