Orthodontic Appliances

Orthodontics are a large time and money investment. You want to do everything possible before and after treatment to get the best results.

At Hulme Orthodontics, we provide custom orthodontic appliances to prepare your smile for orthodontics or prevent your teeth from shifting.

How can an orthodontic appliance from one of our San Antonio, TX, offices help you?


The Top Benefits of Our Orthodontic Appliances

Prepare for Orthodontics

If you have crowded teeth, a palatal expander can create more room for tooth movement in your upper jaw. This allows the orthodontist to prepare your smile for the best possible results with Invisalign® or braces. 

Maximize Your Treatment

Headgear can help us address even the most severe overbites. Your device will be customized to fit comfortably and correct your bite in the least amount of time possible.

Protect Your Results

After your orthodontic treatment, we will provide a custom-made retainer to prevent your teeth from shifting. By wearing your retainers nightly, you can protect your results and reduce the risk of needing re-treatment in the future.

The Importance of a Straight Smile

People with straight teeth are 21% more likely to be seen as happy, 47% more likely to be seen as healthy, and 38% more likely to be seen as intelligent

*Cited from a study by Kelton Research, LLC

Following the doctor's instructions before, during, and after orthodontic treatment is the best way to reach the results you want

Orthodontic Appliances Address Several Orthodontic Concerns, Such As:

Small Upper Jaws

An underdeveloped upper jaw can affect the look and feel of your bite, causing teeth to overlap and preventing your jaws from aligning correctly. A palatal expander can create a larger space for tooth movement and prevent the need for a tooth extraction in the future.
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Severe Overbites

Orthodontic headgear is made up of elastic bands and other appliances that are designed to realign your jaws. By realigning your bite, headgear can improve your ability to eat and speak.

Shifting Teeth

After orthodontic treatment, there is a risk that your teeth may shift back into their original positions. Retainers help your teeth stay straight so that your smile always looks and feels great.

Checklist for Patients Prescribed an Orthodontic Appliance

Be Careful

Orthodontic appliances such as retainers, expanders, and headgear are very delicate. Maintaining your results will require care. 

Keep It Clean

We will provide detailed cleaning instructions for each type of oral appliance. In order to protect your appliance and your oral health, you will need to keep your appliance clean and visit us for regular check-ups.

Be Consistent

For the greatest impact, you will need to wear your expander, retainers, or headgear regularly. Failing to do so can lengthen the course of your treatment or require costly, unnecessary re-treatment.

But a Board-Certified Orthodontist Can Make the Best Judgment Call

Many dentists want to convince you to undergo orthodontic treatment at their office by promising short, simple treatments. However, these dentists may not always deliver the results you expected

As board-certified orthodontists who focus exclusively on orthodontics, Dr. Richard Hulme and Dr. Andrew Ray can design a custom treatment plan that takes your unique smile into account. Because they only treat orthodontic patients, they can dedicate extensive time towards your case to truly give you the best outcome. This is especially important for patients with severe misalignment who need specialized care. Dr. Hulme and Dr. Ray can track your progress along the way and make modifications to your treatment as necessary, which is a feature not offered by busy general dentists or aligner delivery services.

board-certified seal

Clear orthodontic reatiner

Essential Instructions for Orthodontic Appliances

To achieve the best possible outcome, it is essential that patients follow the recommended instructions for wearing their orthodontic appliances. 


Retainers on deskWhen we remove your braces, you will begin the retention stage of your treatment. Your final orthodontic result depends on your retainers, so be sure you carefully follow these directions about retainer use:

  • Until instructed otherwise, please wear your retainer at all times, except when eating, brushing your teeth, or swimming.
  • When you take out your retainer, always put it in its case. If you wrap it in a napkin, it is likely to be accidentally thrown away!
  • Remove your retainer before you brush your teeth. Then brush your retainer before placing it back in your mouth.
  • If you have trouble speaking while wearing your retainer, just practice! Read aloud, talk on the phone, or sing along to the radio.
  • Be careful with your retainer, as it can break easily. Call us if you accidentally break it.
  • Make an appointment if you think your retainer needs to be adjusted. Never do it yourself.
  • Always bring your retainer to your follow-up appointments.
  • Do not put your retainer in hot or boiling water to clean it. It can melt! Also, keep your retainer away from hot car dashboards and out of the washing machine.

Replacing your retainer is expensive. If you follow the above guidelines, your retainer can last for years!

Rapid Palatal Expander

Rapid Palatal Expander in MouthThe Rapid Palatal Expander (RPE) is a device that is bonded to the upper molars and is used to create a wider space in the upper jaw. It is typically used when the upper jaw is too narrow for the lower jaw or when the upper teeth are crowded or blocked out of the dental arch.

When people are still growing, the connective tissue between the left and right halves of their upper jaw is very responsive to expansion. By simply activating the expander by turning a screw in the center, gradual outward pressure is placed on the left and right halves of the upper jaw. This pressure causes an increased amount of bone to grow between the right and left halves of the jaw, ultimately resulting in an increased width.

Be aware that when you first have an RPE in your mouth, it will be difficult to say some words. Your speech will become easier and more understandable if you talk slowly, enunciate your words, and practice reading out loud. As when wearing other orthodontic appliances, avoid eating sticky, chewy, or hard foods while you are wearing an RPE.


Child wearing headgearHeadgear is often used to correct an excessive overbite. This is done by placing pressure against the upper teeth and jaw, which holds the teeth in position or helps move them into better positions. If your treatment involves headgear, be aware that the severity of your overbite will determine how long you need to wear the headgear.

The key to success with your headgear appliance is consistency. Headgear must be worn a certain number of hours per day, and if you miss some time one day, that time must be made up the following day. Remember that you should never wear your headgear while playing sports. Also, remember to remove your headgear before eating or brushing your teeth.

headshot of our orthodontists in front of our San Antonio office

Hulme Orthodontics

Dr. Richard D. Hulme and Dr. Andrew Ray provide customized orthodontic treatments using the latest techniques and innovative technology. Dr. Hulme and Dr. Ray are board-certified by the American Board of Orthodontics and focus solely on orthodontic cases to provide the very best care. They are also members of various dental societies, including:

  • American Board of Orthodontics
  • American Association of Orthodontists
  • Southwestern Society of Orthodontists
  • Texas Association of Orthodontists

To start your treatment at Hulme Orthodontics, request your appointment or call us at (210) 479-2000.

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