Orthodontist Australian Wire

Australian wire used in superior orthodontic equipment. The first in a series of articles taking a look at the discipline and explaining some of the terminology.

Australian Wire In Orthodontistry

The popularity of orthodontistry is not uniform in the West. It is estimated that almost 66% of people in the USA have some measure of orthodontist work (Source Newswire)  whereas in the UK the figure is under 2% with approximately 1 million of the 62 million UK population having undergone some level of treatment in their lives (Source British Dentistry)
However the trend everywhere, even in the USA, is for more work. With that in mind, we thought it might help to put together a brief outline of some of the items of equipment used in the profession, explaining their purpose. This will probably be over a couple of posts. Let’s start with a definition then kick on with some definitions.
Orthodontics involves correcting teeth alignment to improve patient’s smiles and guide proper facial development. The specialty involves use of specialised appliances to correct improper teeth positioning and oral development problems. Subsequently, orthodontists are able to provide better teeth appearance, functioning and facial development. The following is a quick look at the main orthodontic appliances.


Bite plate: It corrects deep bites which occur when the upper teeth grows down too far and extends below the lower teeth. An adjustment period may be necessary when this appliance is used. It can affect patient’s speech for the first few weeks before adjusting completely. The bite plate should only be removed when eating or brushing to achieve optimal results. It can be worn for 3-6 months depending on the level of correction needed.


Hawley retainer: It is normally used after braces are removed to allow hold teeth in their new position and allow the supporting tissues to settle. The retainer is made of customised wire and acrylic to match the impressions of different patients. Installers are worn full-time except when brushing and eating during the first few weeks. The numbers of hours worn reduce as the teeth get more stable in the bone. Australian wire produces perhaps the best finish and durability.


Herbst: It is a fixed functional orthodontic appliance. Herbst is placed in young patients whose lower jaw and teeth are too far at the back. It pushes the lower forward to promote natural growth. It is worn for 8 to 12 month depending on the level of correction needed. The herbst can increase sensitivity for the first weeks before the patient adjusts.


Bionator: It is used to promote growth of the lower jaw to correct overbite. The appliance is highly recommended for use by young patients during who are still growing. Patients who have surpassed their growth period or reached skeletal maturity are forced to rely on changes in teeth position to correct overbite. It should be worn at all times except when brushing or eating. Consistent use is necessary and it should be brushed at least once in a day.


Palatal expander: It is used to expand the upper arch or maxillary. It increases the width of the maxillary to correct cross-bites and create more space which is necessary to minimise crowding. Palate expanders use one or two teeth on each side for anchorage. A small screw at the centre is turned to expand the upper jaw and move palate bones apart. The expander is used for about 6 months. Stable and rapid correction is experienced when the palatal extender is used on young patients who are still growing.


Pendex or Pendulum: It is used in patients whose upper molars need to be moved backward to make the lower teeth fit correctly with the upper teeth. It has bands that hold the first molars and attached to the main body of the pendulum through a coiled wire. The main body has an expansion screw that allows the molars to move outwards as the coiled wire moves them backwards. The pendulum should remain in place for 3 to 6 months for optimal results.


While Australian wire is not the only material used in these items, when used it provides excellent hardness and tensile strength.