A dental appliance refers to any device that helps with your dental treatment plan and can be either permanent or removable. Dental appliances are fitted to your mouth specifically to either help repair damaged teeth, straighten crooked teeth, or replace missing teeth, among other treatments and uses.

This guide to dental appliances can help you as a patient to understand why you may need a specific appliance or how to care for your dental appliance.

Types of Permanent Dental Appliances

Crowns and Fillings

These dental devices replace missing tooth parts once you’ve had a cavity repaired.


A bridge is a fixed device that fills the gap between your existing teeth when you have had a tooth extracted or are missing one or more teeth in a row.


Braces are permanent for a period of time until they have completed the job of correctly aligning the teeth and bite.

Caring for Permanent Dental Appliances

All permanent dental appliances need to be brushed as frequently and in the same way as you would brush your natural teeth.

Types of Removable Dental Appliances


Full or partial dentures replace either some or all of the teeth in your mouth. They aim to give a patient the same abilities as a person with their own full set of nature teeth.

Mouth Guards

Mouth guards can be worn to protect the teeth during sport of heavy physical activity. Alternatively, they are worn to prevent teeth grinding while a patient is asleep.

Another type of guard, called the tongue thrust guard, prevents you from pushing your tongue against your front teeth while your mouth is closed. This kind of behavior can result in crooked teeth and bite problems.

Snoring Appliances

Snoring dental appliances change the position of your jaws or tongue while you sleep to open up the airways and prevent breathing difficulties that cause snoring. Snoring is also a sign of sleep apnea, which can also be treated by dental appliances

Orthodontic Retainers

When you have your braces removed, your orthodontist will fit you with a retainer to keep your teeth in place.

Another use for retainers is to correct teeth. Invisalign braces use a series of retainers that slowly reposition your teeth.

A different type of retainer is a removable space maintainer. If your child loses one of their baby teeth early; the adult tooth which has not developed yet is unable to keep the space open. The removable space maintainer keeps that space open for the adult tooth to one day grow into.

Cleaning Removable Dental Appliances

Some appliances, such as retainers, require a cleaning with dish soap and water. Others, like dentures, need to be cleaned with special brushes and products, as well as be kept in a dentures soaking solution overnight.

When you receive treatment, your dentist or orthodontist will explain the necessary cleaning procedure for your appliance. The most important thing for any appliance is to always make sure you thoroughly clean your appliances to prevent bacterial growth that can affect your oral health.


If you’re wondering about getting a dental appliance to straighten your teeth or help with sleep, talk to Trevor Smith Dental today. The right treatment plan and appliance could significantly improve your quality of life.