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Making Space





Orthodontic separators, also known as spacers, are rubber bands which make room for the metal bands we will fit around your teeth at your second appointment if you will be getting an appliance (these are not needed if you are just getting braces). Here are some guidelines for you to follow to take

proper care of your separators:

  • Brush carefully after each meal, including the teeth that have the separators between     them. Avoid using dental floss between the teeth that have the separators.

  • Do not touch, pick or play with the separators.

  • Do not chew gum or eat candy or anything sticky that could pull your separators out.

Separators may make your teeth sore and tender for the next 24 to 48 hours. This is a normal reaction for teeth that are moving. An over the counter pain reliever such as Tylenol often helps relieve the discomfort. Consult your physician if you have any questions regarding the best medication. If a separator comes out and it is not lost or swallowed (they pass easily through the digestive system), rather than coming back to the office, you may wish to try to replace it yourself by using two pieces of dental floss as follows:

  • Using the dental floss as a handle, gently slip the separator between the teeth until it is in place and then slowly pull the floss out by one end.

With young patients sometimes, so much space is created that the separator is difficult to keep in. If this is the case, wait for one day and try to slip it in again. Separators are an important part of your orthodontic treatment. They will make your first banding appointment much more comfortable for you if they are left in place. If one or more falls out and you are unable to guide it back in, please call the office so we can replace them in a timely manner.







Expanders use the baby teeth as handles to make more room for the adult teeth that will grow in later and/or correct cross-bites. Cross bites are caused by a narrow upper arch which prevents the teeth from coming together correctly in the back.

Your speech may take one to two days to adapt to the new wires. Practice reading out loud at home and repeat any words that your new tongue position has difficulty making.













Lower Lingual Arch



imgp0264A lower lingual ("tongue side") arch is used to either hold your teeth in their present position to increase the existing space that is available for your erupting lower permanent teeth. Please do not play with the wire using your tongue or fingers. Lifting the wire up continuously with your tongue will cause three problems:

  • It will take the activation out of the wire so that it is ineffective,

  • It will get in the way of speaking and eating

  • Most importantly the wire will eventually break and need replacing.


If your tongue cannot stop lifting the wire up, please call us so we can a special wire to discourage the habit. If you notice that one of the metal bands around your back teeth is loose, please call the office immediately. If a metal band comes completely off the tooth, push the band back down on the tooth and temporarily chew food on the other side of your mouth until you come to the office for a repair appointment.


The lower lingual arch may cause some discomfort for the first few days. If the teeth are sore, eat very soft food and take an over-the-counter pain reliever such as Tylenol. If the tongue or cheeks get sore or become irritated, dry the area with a tissue and place the wax.


Brushing your teeth in the area of the new wire takes extra effort. Aim the bristles of the brush underneath where the wire is attached to the tooth as well as at the bands and the biting surfaces of the teeth. Dental floss may be threaded under the wire and used in its normal way.




The Bug


The Bug ("Pendulum") appliance moves the upper rear teeth backward and remains in the mouth for three to six months.


Soft food and small bites will be helpful in the beginning since the teeth are held apart by the appliance. The upper back teeth may be sore for one to two days. This discomfort can be relieved by taking an over-the-counter pain reliever such as Tylenol.


In addition to normal brushing, please brush all the edges of the plastic vigorously. The small brush we have given you works well in this area. Rinse your mouth vigorously after brushing to try to rinse out the roof of the mouth under the plastic.


The wires in the back of the Pendulum appliance may irritate the tongue for the first few days. Please place wax on the springs as necessary, particularly when sleeping. If the springs make a sore area on the roof of the mouth, please call the office for an adjustment appointment. If the Pendulum appliance has any of its four anchor wires come loose, please call the office immediately.









"Not only is my orthodontist(s) friendly/personable, but they are willing to listen to all of the concerns from the patients. It is apparent they have experience in providing professional services." 

Christina H., Sausolito



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A smile is a curved line that straightens a lot of things out.

Lauren Kingsley


  900 Larkspur Landing Circle, Suite 200, Larkspur, California 94939, Phone: 415-459-8006


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