What is an Edgewise Appliance?

If you’ve ever wondered about the mysterious world of orthodontics, then you’ve probably come across the term “Edgewise Appliance.” But what exactly is an Edgewise Appliance? In simple terms, it is a type of bracket that is used in orthodontic treatment to align and straighten teeth. This innovative product has revolutionized the field of orthodontics, allowing for more precise and efficient tooth movement. In this article, we will explore the ins and outs of Edgewise Appliance, how it works, and why it is a popular choice among orthodontic professionals. Get ready to discover the key to a perfectly aligned smile!

What is an Edgewise Appliance?

What is an Edgewise Appliance?

An edgewise appliance, also known as a “bracket” or “braces,” is a dental device that is used to correct and align teeth that are crooked, crowded, or have irregular spacing. It is a common orthodontic treatment that involves the use of brackets, wires, and elastics to gradually move the teeth into the desired alignment. This type of appliance is named “edgewise” because the brackets used in this technique have slots or grooves into which the wires are placed.


An edgewise appliance is a fixed orthodontic appliance that consists of brackets, archwires, elastics, and sometimes additional components such as bands, headgear, or expanders. The brackets are bonded directly onto the teeth and serve as anchors for the archwires, which apply gentle and continuous pressure on the teeth to move them into the desired position. The elastics or rubber bands may be used to apply additional force to correct specific bite issues or align the jaws.


The primary purpose of an edgewise appliance is to correct the alignment of teeth and improve the overall oral health and appearance of an individual. By applying controlled and gradual pressure, the appliance helps to straighten crooked or misaligned teeth, close gaps, and improve the bite. It can address a wide range of orthodontic issues, including overcrowding, overbites, underbites, crossbites, and open bites.


An edgewise appliance consists of several key components that work together to achieve the desired orthodontic outcome. These components include:

  • Brackets: Small, square-shaped attachments that are bonded onto the front surface of each tooth with a special dental adhesive.
  • Archwires: Thin, flexible wires that are placed into the slots or grooves of the brackets to guide the movement of the teeth.
  • Elastics or rubber bands: Small loops or bands that connect different brackets to apply additional force and correct bite issues.
  • Ligatures: Tiny elastics or metal wires that secure the archwires to the brackets.

In some cases, additional components such as bands, headgear, or expanders may be used to further customize the treatment and address specific orthodontic needs. The overall design and composition of the edgewise appliance may vary depending on the individual’s unique dental condition and treatment goals.

Types of Edgewise Appliances

There are several types or variations of edgewise appliances that orthodontists may use based on the specific needs and preferences of the patient. The most common types include the Hawley-style appliance, bonded rapid palatal expander (RPE), and hybrid appliance.

Hawley-style Appliance

The Hawley-style appliance is a removable edgewise appliance that consists of a plastic or acrylic plate that sits on the roof of the mouth or the lower jaw, and a wire framework that holds the brackets and adjusts the position of the teeth. This type of appliance provides flexibility in terms of adjusting the tension and position of the teeth and can be easily removed for eating, brushing, and flossing.

Bonded Rapid Palatal Expander (RPE)

The bonded rapid palatal expander, also known as a rapid maxillary expander, is a fixed edgewise appliance that is used to correct a narrow upper jaw or crossbite. It consists of a metal framework that is bonded to the upper molars and a screw in the middle that can be gradually expanded to widen the roof of the mouth. This expansion helps to create more space for the teeth and improve the overall bite.

Hybrid Appliance

The hybrid appliance combines the features of both fixed and removable edgewise appliances. It consists of a combination of fixed brackets and wires in certain areas of the mouth, along with removable components such as aligners or retainers in other areas. This type of appliance provides the benefits of both fixed and removable appliances and can be customized based on the specific treatment needs of the individual.

What is an Edgewise Appliance?

Benefits and Uses

Edgewise appliances offer a range of benefits and uses for individuals seeking orthodontic treatment. Some of the key benefits include the alignment of teeth, correction of bite issues, and space maintenance.

Alignment of Teeth

One of the primary uses of an edgewise appliance is to align teeth that are crooked, crowded, or have irregular spacing. The appliance applies gentle and continuous pressure on the teeth, gradually moving them into the desired position. This can result in a more symmetrical and aesthetically pleasing smile, improved oral hygiene, and better overall dental health.

Correction of Bite Issues

In addition to aligning teeth, edgewise appliances can also correct various bite issues, such as overbites, underbites, crossbites, and open bites. By manipulating the position of the brackets and wires, the appliance can help to realign the jaws and improve the overall functionality and comfort of the bite. This can lead to improved chewing and speaking abilities, as well as a reduced risk of temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorders.

Space Maintenance

Edgewise appliances can also be used to maintain space in the mouth when a tooth is missing or needs to be extracted. By applying tension between the teeth, the appliance prevents neighboring teeth from shifting into the empty space and helps to preserve the natural alignment and spacing of the teeth. This is particularly important when planning for future dental treatments, such as implant placement or bridge work.


The process of getting an edgewise appliance typically involves several stages, including an initial consultation, impressions and appliance fabrication, and fitting and adjustment.

Initial Consultation

During the initial consultation, you will meet with an orthodontist who will assess your dental condition and determine if an edgewise appliance is the right treatment option for you. The orthodontist will thoroughly examine your teeth, jaws, and overall oral health and may take X-rays, photographs, and impressions of your teeth.

Impressions and Appliance Fabrication

If the orthodontist determines that an edgewise appliance is suitable for your needs, they will take detailed impressions or 3D scans of your teeth. These impressions or scans will serve as a blueprint for the fabrication of your customized appliance. The orthodontist will work closely with a dental laboratory to create the brackets, archwires, and additional components that will be used for your treatment.

Fitting and Adjustment

Once your appliance is ready, you will return to the orthodontist for the fitting and adjustment appointment. During this visit, the orthodontist will bond the brackets onto your teeth using a special dental adhesive. They will then insert the archwires into the slots or grooves of the brackets and secure them with ligatures or small elastics. This process is usually painless, but you may experience some pressure or discomfort as your teeth begin to shift.

Over the course of your treatment, you will need to visit the orthodontist regularly for adjustments and tightening of the archwires. The orthodontist will gradually increase the tension on the wires to ensure a controlled and gradual movement of the teeth. These adjustments are crucial to the success of the treatment and will help to achieve the desired alignment and bite correction.

What is an Edgewise Appliance?

Care and Maintenance

Proper care and maintenance of your edgewise appliance are essential to ensure the success of your treatment and the longevity of your appliance. This includes cleaning the appliance, avoiding damage, and attending regular check-ups with your orthodontist.

Cleaning the Appliance

It is important to clean your edgewise appliance regularly to remove food particles, plaque, and bacteria that can accumulate around the brackets and wires. You should brush your teeth and the appliance after every meal using a soft-bristled toothbrush and a fluoride toothpaste. Flossing with a floss threader or orthodontic floss will help to clean between the brackets and remove any trapped debris.

In addition to regular brushing and flossing, you may also need to use specialized cleaning tools, such as interdental brushes or a water flosser, to effectively clean around the brackets and wires. Your orthodontist will provide you with specific instructions and recommend any additional cleaning products or techniques that may be beneficial for your individual needs.

Avoiding Damage

To prevent damage to your edgewise appliance, it is important to avoid certain foods and habits that can cause breakage or dislodgement of the brackets or wires. Hard, sticky, or chewy foods, such as nuts, popcorn, chewing gum, or hard candies, should be avoided as they can damage the appliance or get stuck between the brackets. Additionally, habits such as nail-biting, pen-chewing, or biting on hard objects should be avoided as they can also cause damage.

If a bracket becomes loose, dislodged, or breaks, it is important to contact your orthodontist immediately for repair. Attempting to fix the issue yourself can lead to further damage or delay in your treatment progress.

Regular Check-ups

Regular check-ups with your orthodontist are an essential part of maintaining your edgewise appliance and monitoring your progress. During these visits, the orthodontist will examine your teeth, check the condition of the appliance, and make any necessary adjustments or repairs. They will also evaluate the movement and alignment of your teeth and provide guidance and advice on how to optimize your treatment.

Attending these check-ups as scheduled is crucial to ensure that your treatment progresses as planned and to address any issues or concerns that may arise during the course of your treatment.

Possible Side Effects

While edgewise appliances are generally safe and effective, there are certain side effects and temporary discomforts that you may experience during the course of your treatment. It is important to be aware of these potential side effects and to communicate any concerns with your orthodontist.

Discomfort or Soreness

It is common to experience some discomfort or soreness in the first few days after the initial placement of the edgewise appliance or after each adjustment appointment. This discomfort is usually mild and can be managed with over-the-counter pain medications or by applying a warm compress to the affected area. Eating softer foods and avoiding hard or crunchy foods during this time can also help to alleviate discomfort.

Speech Impediments

Some individuals may experience temporary speech impediments, such as lisping or difficulty enunciating certain sounds, when they first get an edgewise appliance. This is usually a normal part of the adjustment period and will improve as you become more accustomed to speaking with the appliance in place. Practicing speaking aloud, reading aloud, and enunciating slowly and clearly can help to accelerate this adjustment process.

What is an Edgewise Appliance?

Alternatives to Edgewise Appliances

While edgewise appliances are a common and effective treatment option, there are alternative orthodontic methods available for individuals seeking a different approach or aesthetic preference. Some popular alternatives include Invisalign, lingual braces, and clear ceramic braces.


Invisalign is a popular alternative to traditional edgewise appliances that uses a series of clear aligners to gradually move the teeth into alignment. These aligners are virtually invisible and can be removed for eating, brushing, and flossing. Invisalign is often preferred by individuals who desire a more discreet and flexible orthodontic treatment option.

Lingual Braces

Lingual braces are similar to traditional edgewise appliances, but the brackets and wires are placed on the back surface of the teeth instead of the front surface. This makes them virtually invisible to others and can be a desirable option for individuals who wish to have a discreet orthodontic treatment without using removable aligners.

Clear Ceramic Braces

Clear ceramic braces are similar in design to traditional edgewise appliances, but the brackets are made of a tooth-colored ceramic material that blends in with the natural tooth color. This makes them less noticeable than traditional metal brackets and can be a preferred option for individuals who desire a more aesthetic treatment option.

It is important to discuss the advantages and disadvantages of these alternatives with your orthodontist to determine the most suitable treatment option for your unique needs.

Choosing an Edgewise Appliance Provider

When selecting an orthodontist to provide your edgewise appliance treatment, it is important to consider several factors, including their qualifications and experience, patient reviews and recommendations, and cost and insurance coverage.

Qualifications and Experience

Ensure that the orthodontist you choose is a licensed dental professional who specializes in orthodontic treatment. They should have a solid educational background and extensive experience in providing edgewise appliances. You may also want to inquire about any additional certifications, memberships, or specialized training that the orthodontist has undergone.

Patient Reviews and Recommendations

Reading patient reviews and testimonials can provide valuable insights into the quality of care and satisfaction of previous patients. You may also consider seeking recommendations from family, friends, or your general dentist who have had experience with orthodontic treatment.

Cost and Insurance Coverage

The cost of edgewise appliance treatment can vary depending on the complexity of the case, the duration of treatment, and the specific treatment plan recommended by the orthodontist. It is important to obtain a detailed breakdown of the costs and discuss payment options and insurance coverage with the orthodontist or their administrative staff. Many orthodontists offer flexible financing options to help make treatment more affordable for patients.

What is an Edgewise Appliance?

Frequently Asked Questions

How long do I need to wear an edgewise appliance?

The duration of edgewise appliance treatment varies depending on the individual’s specific dental condition and treatment plan. On average, treatment can last anywhere from 1-3 years. Your orthodontist will provide you with an estimated treatment time during your initial consultation and will monitor your progress regularly to ensure that your treatment progresses as planned.

Can I eat normally with an edgewise appliance?

While it is important to avoid certain foods that can damage the appliance, such as hard or sticky foods, you can typically still eat a wide variety of foods with an edgewise appliance. However, it is advisable to cut food into smaller, bite-sized pieces, chew slowly, and avoid biting directly into hard or crunchy foods. Your orthodontist will provide you with a comprehensive list of foods to avoid and guidelines on how to maintain a balanced and healthy diet during your treatment.

Can I play sports with an edgewise appliance?

Yes, you can participate in sports and physical activities with an edgewise appliance. However, it is recommended to wear a mouthguard to protect your teeth and appliance from injury. Your orthodontist can provide you with a custom-fitted mouthguard that will accommodate the presence of the edgewise appliance and provide optimal protection. It is important to consult with your orthodontist regarding specific sports or activities and any additional precautions that may be required.


Edgewise appliances are a popular and effective orthodontic treatment option for individuals who are seeking to correct the alignment of their teeth, improve their bite, and enhance their overall oral health. Whether you opt for the traditional edgewise appliance, or choose an alternative treatment method, it is crucial to consult with a qualified orthodontist who can assess your individual needs and provide you with the most appropriate treatment plan.

Remember, achieving a straight and healthy smile requires commitment and cooperation. By following your orthodontist’s instructions, maintaining good oral hygiene, attending regular check-ups, and taking care of your edgewise appliance, you can optimize your treatment outcomes and enjoy the benefits of a beautiful and confident smile.

Toufiq Ur

Toufiq Ur

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