Dental trainer – what is it?

A dental trainer is a soft removable orthodontic appliance used to correct minor defects of malocclusion (or bad bite) and teeth misalignment. Apart from that, trainers are used to treat harmful habits (such as breathing through the mouth). The trainer-based treatment is applicable to children with mixed, milk and permanent dentition but it may also be used to treat older children and adults. The trainer, which was invented in Australia, today is valued for wearing and maintaining comfort, as well as for its price, which is considerably lower than that of braces, a fixed orthodontic appliance.

How do the orthodontic problems that should be treated with the use of a trainer arise? Everything starts with a simple habit. For example, your child sleeps with an opened mouth, watches TV with an opened mouth, or sucks a finger. If this is the case, attention should be paid to the problem, since such harmful habits, occurring as early as in infancy, undermine the development both of the jaw and the entire face. An irregular jaw development may also occur due to allergies, asthma and an open bite.

Trainers for adults

The trainers designed for adults perform the same function as those intended for children. They are used to align single teeth and treat harmful habits, as well as are especially suitable in cases of bruxism, also known as tooth grinding, snoring, shoulder pain, headaches and lower jaw joint pain. With the aid of a trainer, the correct position of the joint is restored and the pain eventually stops bothering you.

How does a trainer work?

The trainer should be worn all night and 1-2 hours during a day. In the daytime, the child learns not to breathe through the mouth, not to suck fingers and to swallow correctly, in other words, the child learns to break harmful habits. At night, the processes involving changes in occlusion and teeth straightening take place. The trainer can be used as a baby’s comforter as well, as that way a normal occlusion forms from the very start and the development of harmful habits is prevented. Occasionally, wearing of the trainer may require additional exercises for oral and facial muscle building.

When should I start wearing a trainer?

The dentist or orthodontist will prescribe a trainer-based treatment after examination of the patient and assessment of his / her condition. In most cases, the treatment starts when children are aged 5 to 10 years, when occlusion still consists of milk teeth, in cases of malocclusion or above-mentioned harmful habits or when any single teeth are misaligned.

What is the difference between a trainer and braces?

To start with, braces are a fixed orthodontic appliance that needs to be worn continuously throughout the entire treatment period. However, the main difference between braces and the trainer is that braces, though straightening the teeth, do not help to break harmful habits, as well as eliminate the reason for the development of teeth misalignment in the first place. Therefore, following the treatment using braces, the teeth often ‘return’ to their former position. On the other hand, the trainer, though removing the causes of teeth misalignment, cannot correct major defects in the dental arch. In such cases, combination therapy is required.

The course of treatment

The first visit is a visit to the dentist or orthodontist’s office. After examining the patient, the specialist determines the required treatment, explains the progress of the treatment and, where necessary, performs additional tests.

During the second visit, where a decision to have the treatment is made, an individual treatment plan is drawn up, as well as the cost and duration of the treatment are discussed.

During the third visit, the patient receives his / her personal trainer, is instructed on its usage and explained how and how long the trainer is to be to worn. Where required, the specialist will additionally show the muscle building exercises to be performed.

In order to obtain the best possible results, regular visits to the dentist’s office should be continued. Such follow-up visits are required to observe the progress of the treatment, the changes in the bite and habits, as well as to make photos.

Duration of the treatment

The key to successful treatment is that the patient precisely follows the doctor’s instructions.

The trainer-based treatment of paediatric patients requires 2-3 years, depending on the initial condition and the course of the treatment. If a child wears the trainer fairly and follows other instructions of the doctor, a faster healing process is possible. At the beginning of the treatment, children must visit dentist’s office once a month and later such visits may be less frequent.

For adults, the duration of the treatment may be shorter, depending on the purpose of the treatment.

Does a trainer-based treatment really work?

Today more than 100 countries are successfully applying trainer-based treatment methods. A great deal of research has been done over the past 20 years, which has proved the effectiveness of trainers.

Consultations on trainer-related issues in the clinic are provided by: