Behind the Teeth: What is the Quad Helix? | Wiewiora & Dunn Orthodontics
teen smiles wearing her quad helix appliance

Behind the Teeth: What is the Quad Helix Appliance?

July 15, 2024

So your orthodontist recommended a quad helix appliance for you or your child, but what exactly is that? And how does it work? 

When you come in for your first visit, Dr. Wiewiora or Dr. Dunn will tell you everything you need to know about wearing and caring for any orthodontic appliance. But for now, let’s talk about the quad helix.

Quad Helix Appliance

The quad helix appliance helps give your smile room by widening your upper jaw. If you or your child has a crossbite or crowded teeth, a quad helix is extremely effective in correcting these common orthodontic conditions. 

What does a quad helix look like? A quad helix starts off as a straight stainless steel wire and is bent into shape by your orthodontist to create a customized appliance for you. 

This ‘U’ shaped appliance has four active helix springs— hence the name “quad helix”—and sits in the roof of your mouth. Two metal loops are secured around your top molars and metal attachments (lingual wires) are welded to these bands. 

A quad helix can be removable or bonded to the teeth. While there are many other types of expanders, the quad helix is unique because it comes pre-loaded. This means you don’t have to worry about activating or widening the expander using a key. All quad helix adjustments are done in our Lake Mary or Longwood office with one of our experienced orthodontists!

Treatment with a Quad Helix Appliance

A quad helix appliance will slowly push your teeth out over the course of 3 to 6 months depending on the complexity of your condition. Our orthodontists typically use this orthodontic device to treat the following conditions in children and adults: 

Posterior crossbites

This happens when your upper teeth are too narrow compared to your lower teeth, causing a misalignment between your lower jaw and upper jaw. You’d have to shift your jaw to either the left or the right to have your teeth aligned. Crossbites of this type can cause excessive wear or damage to your teeth, jaw pain, or a noticeably uneven jaw. 

Crowding

Your mouth needs room for crowded teeth to align properly. This is where the quad helix comes into play so you can begin braces or Invisalign treatment and achieve the smile of your dreams! 

Narrow top arch

A narrow upper arch can lead to problems with your airway. If you have a narrow palate, you have less room for your tongue. This causes your tongue to sit back further in your mouth, restricting your airway. An untreated narrow top arch increases your risk of sleep apnea and reduces your sleep quality. 

Check out our Smile Gallery to see before and after pictures of treatment with a quad helix appliance.

Caring for your Quad Helix Appliance

Because a quad helix is typically fixed or bonded to your teeth, it’s extremely important to maintain a good oral health routine! 

Gently brush your teeth, gums, and appliance at least twice a day with fluoride toothpaste and a soft bristle toothbrush to keep your smile happy and healthy. Using a waterpik makes flossing around your quad helix appliance easy and keeps it free of plaque! Keeping your appliance and teeth clean also helps prevent discomfort and cavities. 

During the first two weeks of wearing your quad helix appliance, mild sensitivity and pressure is normal. Our orthodontists recommend taking an over-the-counter acetaminophen like Tylenol as needed. If you’re experiencing pain or swelling, contact us for an emergency orthodontic visit.  

Avoid hard, sticky and sweet foods which can damage the appliance. 

Still have a question about the quad helix appliance?

We’re all about patient education, because we believe the best results are achieved when you’re properly informed! We’ll always take the time to explain everything to you so you leave our office feeling confident and comfortable with your treatment. 

Please don’t hesitate to reach out to us with any questions! Ready to begin your transformation? Request your complimentary exam with us in Lake Mary or Longwood today.

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