Dental Appliances- What Are They?

Dental appliances are very common. In fact, you may have one yourself. Basically, a dental appliance is anything provided by a dentist that helps to straighten teeth, replace missing teeth, or repair a damaged tooth. They can be permanent or removable. What are some common examples? How should you care for them?

Permanent Appliances

  • Crowns and Fillings

These are recommended by a dentist when your tooth is damaged, such as when a cavity is present.

  • Bridges and Implants

Both of these are recommended to replace one or more missing teeth. The missing tooth may have been extracted or never developed. An implant looks like a screw that is topped with a crown. This post is secured to the jawbone beneath the gum line in place of the missing tooth.

A bridge is made up of one or more fake teeth that are “bridged’ or connected between two crowns that are placed on adjacent teeth. A bridge can also be secured between two implants.

  • Braces

You may be thinking that braces are not permanent like the above appliances. This is true! However, bracs are permanent in the sense that they remain on your teeth until your smile is straight. This is generally for a couple of years.

Removable Appliances

  • Dentures

Also called prosthetics, dentures are well known by most people. There are two types- partial and full. Partial dentures replace missing teeth in part of your mouth. Full dentures replace the entire set of teeth on the upper, lower, or upper and lower jaw.

  • Mouth or Night Guards

A mouth guard is the dental appliance you see in peoples’ mouth while they are playing sports. It helps to protect their teeth from getting damaged. On the other hand, night guards are worn at night by those who grind or clench their teeth. It prevents the teeth from being worn down, chipped, or further damaged.

  • Orthodontic Retainers

An orthodontic retainer is given after the braces are removed. These help to keep the teeth in line and are to be worn all day every day for one year post braces. They are to be removed when eating, brushing, and cleaning them. After this, they are to be worn at night continually.

Invisalign retainers are an almost unnoticeable to straighten your teeth. Unlike braces, you are given a series of retainers that gradually move your teeth into alignment. They are also to be removed when eating, brushing, and for cleaning them.


  • Permanent Dental Appliances

To ensure a long life for your permanent dental appliances, avoid chewing hard things that can damage your crown, filling, ect. Make sure to brush and floss thoroughly as well as keep up with your dental cleaning and exams!

  • Removable Dental Appliances

Unlike permanent dental appliances, removable ones require you to take the appliance out and actually brush it with toothpaste or another cleaning solution recommended by your dentist. This ensures your appliance will not develop bacteria that can negatively affect your oral health.


As you can see, there are many dental appliances. Some are permanent while others are removable. In the case of both, you can make them last longer with proper care.