How to Make Space for Adult Teeth Without using Braces

December 28, 2017

Sometimes patients come in with significant crowding in the lower jaw.  One of the best things we can do to help create space PASSIVELY for these patients without the use of active braces is to use a simple device called a Lower Lingual Holding Arch.  We use this type of retainer in the mixed dentition when only the first and second primary molars remain.  This is a temporary, but fixed (glued onto the 6-year molars) retainer appliance which is placed to hold the molars in place and prevent them from drifting forward as the baby molars shed.

Baby or primary teeth are larger than the adult teeth that replace them.  The space left behind is called Leeway space.  You can gain approximately 1.5mm per side or a total of 3mm of space in the lower jaw.  This is quite significant because it can help prevent the need for extractions later on and allow the permanent teeth to erupt ideally.

This appliance has two bands on the adult molars and a passive stainless-steel wire that touches the inside (lingual) surface of the lower teeth.

While undergoing treatment with this Lower Lingual Holding Arch we recommend you avoid sticky chewy foods and gum.  You can brush your teeth and floss as normal taking extra care to clean your appliance as well.  Speech usually improves within a couple days as you adjust to the appliance.

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