The orthodontic appliance that has been prescribed to you is removable in nature. The appliance has been custom fit to your mouth and is designed with a specific orthodontic purpose in mind. The following brief informational program will explain how to properly insert, remove, activate and take care of your appliance.

Removable orthodontic appliancesInsertion

Your orthodontic appliance consists of a non-toxic acrylic baseplate, a number of wire clasps to retain the appliance and an active component that may be either a spring or a screw device. Prior to inserting your appliance into your mouth, the appliance should be clean and free of debris. You may need to look in the mirror as you insert the appliance the first couple of times. If your appliance has a wire that runs across the front surface of your front teeth, ensure that this wire is in place first. Once this wire is positioned, seat the acrylic baseplate firmly into position using gentle finger pressure.

You should feel light frictional pressure on the insides of your back teeth. Excessive pressure leading to pain in the teeth is not routine and should be reported to your student. The appliance should fully seat without rocking against the roof of your mouth if you have an upper appliance or the inside surface of lower jaw if you have a lower appliance. Once your appliance is fully seated, you may have to apply gentle finger pressure to the clasps to obtain a tight fit. Once in place, the appliance should remain in position all by its self.


When you are ready to remove your appliance, the usual protocol is the reverse of insertion. Using gentle finger pressure, lightly tug on the wire clasps at the back of your mouth to disengage your appliance. Depending on the fit of your appliance, you may have to disengage one side of the appliance and then the other to allow for easy removal. Gently withdraw the appliance towards the front of your mouth in one smooth motion.


If your upper appliance has a midline screw for expansion, you may be required to turn the screw once a week. Hold the appliance with the tongue surface facing you. Insert the key into the small midline screw hole towards the front of the appliance. Rotate the screw by pushing the key towards the back edge of the appliance. Once you reach the back edge, gently remove the key. You should be able to see the new midline screw hole towards the front edge of the appliance. Be sure to closely follow the instructions given to you by your student. When you reinsert the appliance, it should feel slightly tighter against the inside surfaces of your teeth.

Appliance Care

Removable orthodontic appliances are precision instruments that are expensive and time consuming to replace. Know where your appliance is at all times. If it is not in your mouth, ideally it should be in the plastic case provided at your insertion appointment.

Keep it away from the family dog. Dogs love these appliances and once they get a hold of one, the appliance will be destroyed in a matter of seconds. In addition, most patients are understandably hesitant to reinsert an appliance after a dog has tried it in.

Keep your appliance as clean as possible. Brush it with a small amount of toothpaste every time you brush your own teeth and rinse it often with cold water. If you would like to soak your appliance, place it in a bowl with a bit of vinegar and mostly water for 30 minutes to freshen it up.

Children should be discouraged from wearing an appliance during contact sports. An appliance that is knocked out of the mouth during a game rarely causes injury to the patient, but often gets damaged by being stepped on by his or her teammates.

Limit the number of times you insert and remove your appliance. Continual insertion and removal causes the appliance to loosen quickly and ultimately your clasps will fail due to excessive strain. Never remove and insert your appliance using your tongue.

Do not wrap your appliance up in a napkin while in a restaurant. Wrapped up appliances always end up in the trash. More often than not, these lost appliances need to be replaced at a cost to the unfortunate patient.

Finally, follow your instructions to the letter. Removable appliances only work as long as they are in your mouth. Wearing the appliance as prescribed promotes quick, accurate tooth movement, providing you with your desired results as efficiently as possible.