Put your best smile forward

Clark Twin Block appliances are simple bite blocks that are designed for full-time wear to correct the appearance and functionality of a protruding jaw (usually the upper, resulting in ‘buckteeth’). They were developed in 1977 by Dr. Clark, the first recipient of an award of distinction from the British Orthodontic Society for an outstanding contribution to the specialty of orthodontics.

How Do Twin Blocks Work?

The appliance is made up of two components, an upper and lower, which work together to posture the lower jaw forward via a screw mechanism. This frees up the otherwise ‘lock-in’ lower jaw to grow to its full potential. The upper (and sometimes lower) also has an expansion screw to widen the upper arch. It can be used on people of all ages, but is more commonly used in children, who are in their growth stage, to treat an underdeveloped lower jaw. It is usually a first phase appliance followed by braces or a retainer. Once your appliance has been made and fitted, you will be given detailed instruction and advice as to its maintenance for the best results.

Your questions answered

How comfortable is it? There shouldn’t be any discomfort. The appliance must be worn full time, including while you eat and sleep. The only exceptions are when you remove them for cleaning and for swimming (to avoid losing it). Full-time wear and eating with the appliance maintains proper fit. If the Clark Twin Block (CTB) is not fitting properly, it is most likely not being worn as instructed. Initially there may be some excessive saliva produced, this will diminish within a few days. Soreness of teeth is common for only the first few days, but should soon disappear. If tenderness of the teeth continues then please call us. Do not leave the appliance out because it is bothering you; come by and let us adjust it. If you fail to wear your CTB, longer treatment time and the expense of new appliances will result.

Will my speech be affected? It is normal that there will be some difficulty with speech the first several days of wear. To become accustomed to the CTB, practice speaking and reading out loud. Speaking will become second nature. Bearing in mind the appliance is usually worn for several months, a few days adapting is soon forgotten about.

Can I eat with it? Eating with the appliance will help you to speed up the process. It is extremely important the patient wear the CTB 24 hours a day, especially while eating. One meal is equivalent to 24 hours of wearing. You are advised to eat ‘soft foods’ like eggs, and soups for the first few days. Eating normal food with the CTB will become routine.

How do I look after my Clark Twin Block? The CTB is delicate and must be handled with care when out of the mouth. Breakage will mean increased treatment time. You will be given a ‘safety box’ for the appliance when not being worn. Never wrap up the CTB in a napkin or tissue. And be mindful to keep out of the reach of pets, they love to chew the acrylic, as it smells like you. Besides your regular brushing, it is very important that you brush the roof of the mouth and the tongue. The CTB should also be cleansed thoroughly with a soft toothbrush or toothbrush using toothpaste or a “retainer bright” cleaner sold in the practice. This is best done after the evening meal, before going to bed, and when getting up in the morning.

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