MARA stands for “Mandibular Anterior Repositioning Appliance.” This orthodontic appliance holds the patient’s jaw forward to correct an overbite. The device has several pieces, including a stainless steel “arm” and a “crown” that fastens it in place on the top and lower jaw to motivate the bite into the right position.
This device can be important for patients with an overbite, which, when left untreated, can lead to various oral complications. Continue reading to learn how a MARA Appliance and MARA U appliances work, as well as why you might need one.
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What is a MARA Appliance?
A MARA appliance consists of a horizontal metal arm attached from the top rear molars by a crown to the lower jaw. It encourages the jaw to “grow” in a more forward position over time. When the patient bites down, the arms extend to slide the lower jaw forward into a healthier orientation.
The goal is to get the jaw used to its new location so that patients do not have as severe an overbite when it comes off. It achieves a similar result as the orthodontic elastics that connect both rows of braces. However, the bands can be removed and tampered with.
This is why a MARA appliance is often used for younger patients who are uncooperative with their elastic bands. They provide a permanent solution for overbite correction, as well as one that is more effective in severe cases.
Why Fix an Overbite?
An overbite occurs when the bottom row of teeth sits too far back when the mouth is closed. This prevents normal biting, chewing, and speaking by distributing the force of the patient’s bite unevenly.
Over time, an overbite can result in many oral health complications, including:
- Jaw pain is a common result of an untreated overbite since an uneven bite strains ligaments that are not meant to take those pressures.
- Chronic headaches can result from jaw pain caused by an overbite. As the oral ligaments and muscles struggle to maintain normal function, you can feel the strain as a headache or migraine.
- Tooth damage can occur when overbites are not treated due to uneven pressures when the patient bites, chews, or even speaks. Teeth can damage gums in this position or even crack.
- Embarrassment is an important factor when considering whether a child needs overbite correction. Social stigmas often interpret overbites as a sign of awkwardness or a lack of strength or intelligence.
What is the MARA U appliance?
The MARA U appliance works the same way as the MARA, just with an added function. By reversing the direction of the device’s lower metal loop, the U version provides more vertical engagement between the mechanism of the upper and lower jaw.
This makes the MARA U more effective in cases of extreme overbite, where even more physical coercion is needed to see a practical correction.
However, like the normal MARA appliance, the MARA U cannot grow a patient with a longer jaw or fundamentally change the ligaments that position it. The results seen with these appliances come from allowing the jaw to get used to a more forward position to approximate a better bite and relieve some symptoms of the teeth being so uneven.
Are there side effects of wearing a MARA?
The MARA can be used before a patient begins their braces or at the same time. While wearing the MARA, patients can experience cheek irritation, especially at first. However, this typically goes away within a week. Speak with your orthodontist if the discomfort persists.
How long will I need to wear the MARA?
The MARA usually causes a full jaw correction within 9 months to a year of continuous use. When worn with braces, it can be convenient to get the whole treatment done at the same time, though they may not overlap completely. Speak with your orthodontist about a treatment schedule that’s most effective and convenient for you.
Choose Reese Orthodontics
If you’re an adult who is considering braces, you need professional advice on your treatment and payment options. For orthodontic treatments in Charleston, SC, Reese Orthodontics offers the latest technology and treatment plans. Our advanced and comfortable orthodontic treatments can be customized to suit your needs. A consultation with Reese Orthodontics includes scans, a comprehensive exam, and a conversation with the orthodontist to discover which treatment options are right for you.
Schedule an appointment with us today to stay ahead of your oral health and receive the best possible treatment in your area.