Types of Appliances

Here at the office of Dr. Lauren Cai, our treatments offered extend far beyond the realm of braces and Invisalign. In addition to these treatments, we also offer a number of orthodontic appliances. As a South Western Washington area orthodontist, we are always looking for ways to improve the smiles of our valued patients.

Although braces and Invisalign are incredibly effective, sometimes, they are not the ideal method of treatment for patients. As a result, we offer the following types of orthodontic appliances:

Herbst Appliance - Perhaps one of the most common problems that we see here is the protrusion of the upper teeth. We often think that this is due to the fact that the upper jaw and/or teeth protrude too far forward, however, in a lot of cases, this condition is actually due to a lower jaw that is smaller and further back than it should be. This problem is often solved by the lower jaw catching up in growth, which is what the Herbst appliance helps aid.


Rapid Palatal Expander - A rapid palatal expander is a device that is used when the upper jaw is either too narrow for the lower jaw, or when the upper teeth are too crowded. This appliance works efficiently because when patients are growing, connective tissue is responsive to expansion.

The palatal expander will expand this area gradually whenever the patient turns a screw in the center of the expander, using a key that we will provide. From there, gradual outward pressure is applied to the halves of the upper jaw, leading to an expanded width.


Lower Holding Arch - This appliance, used at an early age, helps prevent the need for extensive orthodontic treatment at a later point in life. Sometimes, when baby teeth are lost, permanent molars will then shift forward to fill this empty space. The LHA is meant to prevent this from happening, making room for the new, permanent teeth to erupt naturally. This arch creates more space for the lower teeth, helping you avoid the need for extraction of permanent teeth.

This appliance is typically worn for 12-18 months, or until all the permanent teeth have erupted. This appliance should not cause any discomfort.


Nance - This appliance is also used to help maintain space as permanent teeth erupt. This appliance consists of an arch made of bands and a plastic button that covers a portion of the roof of your mouth. Patients are able to choose the color of this button.

Forsus Appliance - The Forsus appliance is used simultaneously with braces, helping to move the upper molars back, while moving the lower arch forward.

The Forsus appliance, like other orthodontic treatments, may cause some discomfort initially, so we recommend sticking to soft foods and using anti-inflammatory medication, if necessary. We also recommend cleaning this device regularly.

Inman Aligner - Inman aligners are an affordable option for straightening front teeth. This appliance is often referred to as the missing link between orthodontic treatment and cosmetic dentistry, due to the fact that it is able to quickly and efficiently straighten your teeth in approximately 6-16 weeks. Adults who have not been compliant with retention can be great candidates for this appliance. To find out if you are a candidate for this treatment, please schedule a consultation with Dr. Lauren Cai.

Contact our office today

If you would like to learn about how you can benefit from the types of appliances offered, or other orthodontic treatments available, please contact the office of Dr. Lauren Cai. We have two convenient office locations and are always accepting new patients!