Orthodontic Appliance Spotlight: MARA Appliance

Our Valencia orthodontist, Dr. Carole Randolph and her incredible team, want our patients to have a good understanding of their orthodontic treatments. This includes the appliances that they wear on their teeth. That’s why we’re taking the time to go over the various orthodontic appliances Dr. Randolph uses when improving the smiles of our patients. This post will focus on the MARA appliance.

Short for Mandibular Anterior Repositioning Device, the MARA appliance is a device used to help reposition the lower jaw by promoting its forward growth. The use of this appliance can also help your child avoid the need for jaw surgery. This is a bite-fixing appliance Dr. Randolph uses to correct severe overbites of children. If your child has a serious overbite, where the top front teeth overlap the bottom front teeth, Dr. Randolph can use the MARA appliance to help realign the jaw into the proper position.

How the MARA Appliance Works

The MARA appliance is custom-made to fit inside each patient’s mouth. It is cemented to the teeth using a special fluoride-releasing cement. Through the use of upper “elbows” and lower “arms”, the MARA guides the lower jaw forward. Once the appliance is fitted and correctly adjusted, the only way the patient can bite down is to slide the front jaw forward so the lower arms of the device slip in front of the elbows.

While each case is unique, the MARA appliance is typically worn for about one year. At first, the back teeth will not meet the same way they did prior to the placement of the MARA. However, since this appliance begins working immediately, patients are usually chewing normally after about one week. Any tenderness of the teeth should be alleviated in just a few days.

It is important to know that the upper and lower parts of this appliance are NOT connected together. This means your child can still open and close his/her mouth fully and not be restricted in his/her side-to-side or chewing movements.

Getting Used to the MARA

When your child first begins wearing the MARA appliance, the elbows or arms on each side of the device may irritate the inside of the cheeks; however, the cheeks will toughen up with time as the tissue adjusts to the presence of the appliance. Initially, the cheeks may look slightly puffy, but after a short period of time this will go away.

It is important for anyone wearing the MARA to steer clear of foods that can damage the appliance like hard, sticky and chewy foods. It is also important not to bite repeatedly on the top of the bottom arms or to poke at the appliance with sharp objects to avoid doing damage.

In order to continue making progress with the MARA, Dr. Randolph will need to see your child periodically to advance or “activate” the appliance. Following this type of appointment, your child will feel his/her lower jaw being guided further forward, which will once again change the way the teeth meet when biting down.

Questions? Contact Your Valencia Orthodontist

We’re always more than happy to speak with you! If you have any questions about the MARA appliance, please feel free to contact us. As a family orthodontist, Dr. Randolph has transformed the smiles of thousands of kids, teens, and adults and she can help your family too! To begin the orthodontic journey toward a healthier and more attractive smile, please request your complimentary consultation today. We can’t wait to meet you soon and welcome you to our office where we’re passionate about creating wonderful smiles!

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