Broken Braces and Wires
If a broken appliance can be removed EASILY, take it out. If it cannot, cover the sharp or protruding portion with cotton balls, gauze, or gum. If a wire is stuck in the gum, cheek, or tongue, DO NOT remove it. Take the patient to a dentist immediately. Asymptomatic loose or broken appliances do not usually require emergency attention and can be repaired at the regular visit.
This is an expansion appliance. They have been proven to be highly effective and versatile. It is most often used when the upper jaw and arch of the teeth are too narrow in relation to the lower jaw. In almost all cases this narrowing is caused by a sucking habit (thumb, finger, and pacifier). As a result, the teeth do not fit together properly when the child closes his/her mouth in its natural arc. To adjust to this, the child will "shift" the jaw to the left, right, or forward. This puts uneven stresses on the Temporo-mandibular joints (jaw joints) (TMJ). The abnormal "posture" adversely affects the growth of the joints and the jaws. If left untreated, the growth occurs in an uneven manner and will result in facial deformity, altered chewing patterns, and asymmetric muscle forces exerted on the mouth and face.
When it is Used: The expansion works very well in young children because the bones and sutures (junctions between bones) are not completely mature and therefore move more readily than when older.
How it is Used: Each appliance is custom fit to your child's mouth and cemented to the upper molars. It is a wire with 4 loops ("Quad Helix"), which is bent to lie across the roof of the mouth, out of the way of the tongue. It takes 4-6 months to correct the cross bite. Occasionally, we leave it longer if the cross bite was severe or if there are other factors which require longer retention of the expansion. Long-term correction of cross bites can be achieved in 90% of cases.
Limitations: The Quad Helix is not a guarantee that additional orthodontics will not be needed in the permanent dentition. It is an appliance used to promote a more normal bite, TMJ and jaw development by reducing or eliminating the postural shift.
Wearing the Quad Helix: After the appliance is adjusted and cemented, the wires will then be adjusted every 4-6 weeks until the cross bite is corrected.
Care of the Quad Helix: Caring for the expander is easy. Avoid giving your child gum or sticky foods, especially candies. Brushing is recommended twice a day by an adult. Discomfort is usually minimal, and a short adjustment time is usually necessary for eating and talking, but most children adapt quickly.
Other Benefits: Since most children with cross bites have a history of finger habits or prolonged use of a pacifier, the Quad Helix can also be modified and used effectively to break the habit pattern, if the child hasn't stopped on his/her own.