Trans Palatal Arch TPA Appliance

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Understanding how the teeth fit in the mouth can be difficult, but it is clear that there are times when they do not come through the correct way. It could be because the jaw is too small and there are only a few options such as extractions of baby teeth. If the child should undergo a few sessions of baby teeth removal to make sure that there is enough space, TPA appliance can be used to maintain the back teeth from moving forward – this refers to a transpalatal arch appliance.

What is a TPA appliance?

A TPA appliance is just what it sounds like – an appliance that is placed across the palate. The first molar teeth are selected and have orthodontic bands attached to them. The other end of the bands is then attached to the TPA appliance. It is a device used to do to the upper jaw what a lingual arch can do for the lower one. The main reason for using one is to keep the first molars in place. When there is a space in the jaw it is easy for them to move forward and an arch maintainer is required.

If the teeth have to be taken out, the molars will be forced to stay where they are with the TPA appliance rather than move into the newly open up space. In children, the adult teeth will come through and take up the space. In adults, there will be the need to find another way to fill the gap. Leaving the space alone is not really an option as the molars could move and a lot of teeth could end up out of position.

How is a TPA Appliance Made?

First of all, the separators are put in position and a special tool is going to be needed for this. There will be a little bit of tightness felt when it first goes in. All in all, it will only take a couple of minutes to get it into position. It will be 3 – 14 days before you have to return to the orthodontist as it is that amount of time that the separators need to work. After they have been removed with a probe, the right sized bands are selected for you.

The bands will be put in place and an impression will be taken while they are in place. The impression is made by putting a thick substance into trays and placing it over the teeth. Once removed, there is a copy of the teeth and the substance hardens. The separators are returned to the mouth while the TPA appliance is made and can be fitted. This could take up to three weeks.

Fitting the TPA appliance

This will not take long as it is a simple matter of placing the appliance with the bands in the mouth and using dental glue to hold it in place. Once in place, it will stay there until the extractions can take place or there is no risk of back teeth moving forward. As soon as the TPA appliance is not needed, it will be removed and the fixed brace can now be used.

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