Know Your Appliances: Roberts Retractors

Sometimes it is hard to tell which orthodontic appliance is which one, and what they do. They all look like a bunch of wires from the outside, and from the layman’s point of view, that is basically what they are. But they all do very, very different things and fulfill different functions, and that is why it is a good idea to get to know them. First off, we will be dealing with a roberts retractor.

What They Are

Roberts retractors are a type of removable functional orthodontic appliance. They look like a metal wire from the outside. They have a specific shape, with being curved but roughly going in a straight line, until it reaches the canines, where they go up around the canines, looking something like this:


What They Do

Roberts retractors are meant to deal with an overbite. An overbite is a condition in which the patient’s maxilla (top arch of teeth) goes out above the lower jaw (mandible). They go on over the upper jaw, and are anchored all the way up on the canines, hence the giant curve going up around them. By anchoring themselves thus, they exert force on the top jaw, pushing it back, and thus aligning it with the rest of the teeth. They also exert some force unto the canines, pressing them downwards.

Where You Can Get Them

Why, your orthodontist of course! Ask your dentist if functional orthodontic appliances are right for you! Remember though, you will still need to wear them most of the time if you want them to be effective at all! Only mild to moderately severe orthodontic cases can be resolved with the use of functional orhtodontic appliances, and more severe cases will need fixed braces.

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