Arch Development

Arch Development

Arch development is a collective term that describes a variety of appliances used to gain both arch width and arch length. These appliances range from the simple Schwarz appliance with lap springs to the high-speed, rapid palatal expanders. They may utilize orthodontic movement, orthopedic movement, or a combination of both and may be either fixed or removable.

With proper design, expansion appliances may be used to move teeth on either side of the arch unilaterally or bilaterally. They may be used to relieve crowding in the posterior segments, develop underdeveloped pre-maxillas, reposition retroclined anteriors, and relieve anterior crowding.

There are many indications for arch development. In children, the overwhelming majority of lateral expansion appliances are used to treat crossbites, crowded anteriors with an excessive overjet, or a combination of these conditions.

In adults, arch development appliances are mainly used to correct crowding in the anterior region, upright lingually tipped posterior segments back over the basal bone, distalize mesially inclined molars, correct retroclined anteriors, and, in conjunction with straight wire therapy, round out narrow arches and align the occlusal planes.

Arch development is also important for patients who need therapy to correct a skeletal problem. One of the main causative factors of a skeletal Class II relationship is an underdeveloped maxilla. In fact, it is rare to find a Class II case where the teeth are aligned and the arch is ideally shaped so that only a jaw-to-jaw alignment with a functional appliance is needed.

  • Lateral Development with Removable Appliances
  • Lateral Development with Fixed Appliances
  • Anterior/Posterior Development with Removable Appliances
  • Anterior/Posterior Development with Fixed Appliances
  • Combination Removable Appliances for AP/Lateral Development
  • Combination Fixed Appliances for AP/Lateral Development
  • Differential Development with Removable Appliances
  • Differential Development with Fixed Appliances


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