Columbia, Silver Springs and Upper Marlboror, MD (Maryland) Orthodontist Phillip Markin
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Braces 101

Braces 101

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Types of Appliances

To successfully complete the orthodontic treatment plan, patients must work together with the doctor and orthodontic team. The teeth and jaws can only move toward their corrected positions if the patient properly cares for their braces and consistently wears the elastics (rubber bands), headgear, or other appliances as prescribed.

The following paragraphs describe the types of appliances that may be used during your treatment.

 Elastics (Rubber Bands)

Wearing elastics (rubber bands) improves the relationship of your upper and lower teeth. Many times rubber bands are used to close spaces or settle the bite. The patient is responsible for the wear of these elastics to ensure the treatment result and time table. Compliance with the recommended elastic wear schedule will assure the best results in the shortest amount of time.


A headgear can be utilized for patients whose teeth/jaws are in an "overbite" relationship, (with the upper teeth are forward of the lower teeth) or an "underbite" relationship (with the lowers forward of the uppers). Headgear gently "pulls" or "pushes" on your teeth to change the growth pattern of your teeth and jaws.

Functional Appliance

This Herbst or Mara appliance reduces overbite by encouraging the lower jaw forward. This fixed appliance is used mostly for growing children and is worn for about 12-15 months as a part of the treatment plan.

Invisalign® Appliances, or “Aligners”

Drs. Markin & Park are certified Invisalign providers. This treatment is an option for limited tooth alignment for those patients who want to avoid "braces" but still achieve tooth straightening. This treatment system involves a series of computer assisted and manufactured plastic trays called "aligners." For this type of treatment, movements for your teeth are pre-determined by Drs. Markin & Park using 3D computer imaging technology. To achieve the desired result, aligners must be worn as prescribed by the doctor, usually 23 hours per day for two- to three-week intervals. Most limited alignment programs are completed within 7-12 months. Wear and care of the appliances will be illustrated at the placement visit.

If you are an active patient and have signed up for access, your Invisalign® tooth movement "movie" can be seen after your personal login to our website.

Palatal Expander

A palatal expander widens the jaw by using your teeth as a "handle" to apply pressure across the growing site in the middle of the roof of the mouth. You can feel the line in the center of the palate, and under this line — in growing children — we are able to induce the growth of more jaw bone structure! Drs Markin & Park and the team will instruct you and your family about when and how to adjust your expander. When you achieve the desired expansion, you will wear the appliance for six months to solidify the expansion and to prevent loss of the correction.

* As recommended by Drs. Markin & Park, swish twice per day with Phos-Flur or a fluoride mouth rinse for an extra boost of fluoride. Phos-Flur is a product made by Colgate and is available at local stores.


Retainer type is recommended by the orthodontist based upon the original positioning of the teeth. Retainers may be removable or fixed. They hold your teeth in their new, correct positions after your teeth have been aligned. Drs. Markin & Park and the team will instruct you on how to care for your retainer and about the duration of the wear. Wearing your retainer as directed is crucial to prevent regression of your treatment. As we age, teeth continue to shift and change. Current research demonstrates that retainers are important throughout life to maintain the results achieved during orthodontic treatment. Retainers initially help teeth "heal" into their new positions. Over the long term, retainers help preclude age-related tooth position changes.

Separators (or Spacers)

Separators are little rubber doughnuts that are placed between your teeth to push them apart so that orthodontic bands may be placed during your next appointment. The separators will be removed before we place the bands.