Table of Contents Hide
- What is activator in orthodontics?
- How does activator appliance work?
- Why is activator necessary?
- Activator appliance and braces
- Activator or bionator: what is the difference?
- Tips on activator and bionator appliance
What is activator in orthodontics?
Activator is a removable orthodontic appliance to treat jaw deficiencies and correct tooth and jaw abnormalities. Activator is a type of functional appliance. Activator appliance makes your jaw muscles active as the name explains its function. Functional appliances are used to enhance your skeletal jaw growth to get to the normal and fitted position. Activator consists of acrylic splint and lingual flange for resting on the gums and your upper and lower soft tissues. When you are wearing an activator, lingual flange makes you bite on it to move your lower jaw forward. These constant biting on the activator appliance makes muscles active and causes jaw growth to transform your teeth and jaw into the normal occlusion.
Types of activators
- Original Andresen and Haupel activators
- Activator with headgear(e.g. Teuscher appliance)
- Hamilton bonded activator
- Activator as retainer
How does activator appliance work?
What activator appliance does in orthodontics is interesting to know. Our lower jaw is the bone that is attached by muscles and not bone to the other bones. So it’s a free bone and orthodontists use appliances to move it to the direction that is necessary.
Activator appliance uses your soft tissues like lips gums and the pressures from jaw muscles to force your lower jaw move downward and forward to correct jaw discrepancies. Activator, like Twin-Block and Bionator, is called an active appliance. It means that your voluntary action of biting or forcing on the appliance is causing your lower jaw muscles to move to forward direction. These forces will improve your deficiencies in lower jaw and is a good way to correct bite problems like overbite.
Why is activator necessary?
In orthodontics, each type of appliance works for making irregular jaws and teeth to move to a direction that improves your face and look noticeably. Sometimes, changes are just within teeth and sometimes even jaw movements a little back or forward or up and down is necessary to get to amazing results. Functional appliances are into these jaw movements and make transformation on our jaws both upper and lower jaw. Activators as the name suggests make jaws active while growth is continuing. What make these changes necessary are future problems that happen. Problems like social fears about your appearance, bad-looking teeth and jaw malocclusion, not being able to eat or speak well, bad oral health and many more factors that make activator appliance necessary, like all other appliances in orthodontic.
Uses of activator:
- Helps to grow jaws into normal position
- Corrects Deepbite
- Overjet treatment
- Prevents open bite
- Stops bad habits like using tongue to touch and push teeth and thumb sucking habit in children
- It can act as a nightguard to prevent sleep clenching and bruxism
- Prevents eruption of overcrowded back teeth
- Activator can also be used as a retainer
When is the best time to start orthodontic treatment with activator appliance?
Functional appliances in orthodontics are designed to use muscle and soft tissues like gums to correct abnormalities in jaws and teeth. So in orthodontics, the critical period and the best time is when children reach their adolescence or even earlier if they are willing to cooperate. During adolescence, orthodontist will use the muscle changes to achieve the best results in treating jaw discrepancies.
How long should you wear activator appliance?
At the beginning of the orthodontic treatment, orthodontist will tell you exactly about the time of treatment. It is important that how long you should wear the appliance or if it should be worn at nights or during the day. The longer the better! The minimum should be 12 hours to much standard 18 hours in a day. And depending on your treatment, minimum of 5 month to 1 year or even 2 years is the period of the treatment time for activator appliance (generally with functional appliances).
What are the advantages and disadvantage of activator appliance?
Advantages of activator appliance:
- Activator is a removable appliance, which can be removed when you feel discomfort
- It is adaptable to be used with other appliances like headgear.
- Activator is an effective orthodontic appliance in jaw discrepancies treatment
- New designs and modifications are available
Disadvantages of activator appliance:
- Because of bulky and shape of the activator appliance, you may not feel comfortable about wearing that
- Activator appliance creates problems for regular activities like eating, so removing is necessary if you want to eat something
- It creates problems for speaking if you want to have conversation, so you should remove that in your mouth
Activator appliance and braces
Treatment with activator appliance is usually the first phase of orthodontic treatment. With the functional appliances, the discrepancies in jaws and abnormalities will get better step by step. If fixed orthodontic appliance is needed, orthodontists start to do the next phase of our treatment. They begin correction of our individual teeth and protrusion or irregularities in our teeth. It is time that orthodontists will fix braces in our mouth. Fixed appliances like braces are installed to treat teeth irregularities in the finishing stage of our orthodontic treatment.
Activator or bionator: what is the difference?
Activator’s design makes this appliance to be sort of loose in the mouth, which needs active muscle forces and cooperation. Bionator is also one of the removable functional appliances in orthodontics. Bionator can also be called a type of activator since its function is similar except for the design and shape of the appliance. Bionator is more comfortable to wear than activator because of the smaller design of the acrylic shape in the mouth. Bionator has transpalatal wire that can be adjusted for palatal expansion instead of large and bulky acrylic of the activator. Bionator reduces the pressures on the muscle forces like cheeks because of the improved designs in wires, which fits in the mouth.
Tips on activator and bionator appliance
Generally, each orthodontic appliance needs to be cared for until your treatment is over. There are also some tips on activator or Bionator appliance that you should follow.
- Try to wear activator or bionator appliance as long as you can
- Follow your orthodontist on the night-time wear or daily wear of your orthodontic appliance
- For young children, cooperation is often difficult. Therefore, parents should step in and manage the daily wear of the activator or bionator
- Clean your activator and bionator appliances regularly. You can use a brush to do that.
- Do not forget oral health practices and stick to your old habit of brushing teeth when you remove the appliance
- Do not play sports or do hard physical work when you are wearing the activator or bionator appliance
- If you feel continuous pains on the mouth and jaw muscles, consult with the orthodontist on that