Quad-Helix Arch Expanders

What is a quad-helix?

A quad-helix is an arch expander appliance that goes across the palate. A quad-helix attaches to the first molar teeth via Orthodontic Bands.

When is a quad-helix used?

If there is a problem with your bite such that the upper jaw is narrower than the lower jaw, an arch expander such as a quad-helix appliance may be used.

Other ways to expand the upper jaw include a removable brace, a rapid maxillary expansion device (used in growing patients), and surgery.

How is it made?

Separators are placed first and are inserted with a special tool. Slight tightness is felt when the separator is inserted. The whole procedure takes less than a couple of minutes.

You will be sent away for several days with the separators in place. When you return, the separators are removed with a probe. The correct size bands are then selected for your teeth.

Once a correctly fitting band has been chosen, an impression (record) of your teeth with the bands in place will be taken. The impression, together with the bands will be sent to the laboratory for construction of the quad-helix. Separators will be placed again until you come back to have the quad-helix fitted. Construction of the quad-helix takes between 1 and 3 weeks.

How is a quad-helix used?

Once the quad-helix is constructed, it is attached to the teeth via the orthodontic bands using special glue.

How often will I need to be seen by the orthodontist?

The orthodontist will see you at the normal interval of 6 to 8 weeks. Sometimes, it is necessary to remove the quad-helix to check it and then put it back.

How long will treatment with a quad-helix take?

A quad-helix usually forms the first stage of fixed brace treatment. You will usually have only the quad-helix in your mouth for the first 6 months or so.

The quad-helix can be in place for about half of the treatment time. Total treatment duration varies from between 18 months and 24 months. Some treatments can be quicker and other may take longer depending on the correction needed.