11 March, 2022


What is a MARA?

What is a MARA?

In orthodontic treatment our goal is to give patients an esthetic pleasing smile and a healthy bite. Some patients present to the office with an ideal bite, but crowding and rotations of the teeth. However, many patients come with both crowding and an improper bite relationship. A common bite discrepancy is when your upper front teeth are ahead of your lower front teeth – an overbite. One way to correct a moderate to severe overbite is with a MARA appliance.

What is a MARA?

MARA is short for ‘Mandibular Anterior Repositioning Appliance’. The MARA is an example of a functional appliance, similar to a Herbst appliance. The advantage of a MARA as compared to a Herbst appliance is that it is more comfortable for patients to wear and is not quite as bulky. Additionally, a MARA can be used at the same time as braces so we can reduce total treatment time. Below is a video of a MARA appliance and the desired treatment outcome from using a MARA.

When do patients get a MARA?

A MARA is used on growing children, ages 10-15. The theory behind the MARA appliance is that it stimulates and/or modifies growth of the lower jaw. The hope is to have the MARA appliance is in place +/- 1 year of a patients growth spurt. Timing is important for when the MARA is used because if it is placed too early it will not have maximal effects on lower jaw growth. Also if it is placed too early it may have to be in for longer than initially anticipated. On the other hand, if the MARA is placed too late the effects will be almost entirely on pushing the teeth rather than modifying lower jaw growth. MARA’s are not used on adult patients to correct severe overbites, rather, different treatment options will be discussed. Ideally the MARA is in place for 9-12 months and that time coincides with a patients growth spurt. See some photos of a recent patient who had a great treatment outcome from MARA and braces.

Does the MARA hurt?

A MARA appliance, just like any orthodontic appliance, will take some time to get used too. The most common site of discomfort is your cheek just next to the upper component. Your orthodontist can give you wax, cotton pads, or a mouth rinse to help with the soreness. This usually goes away within a week. The other challenge with the MARA is learning how to properly bite with the appliance in. You will practice this in the office a number of times before leaving and this will become 2nd nature within 24 hours. In general the MARA is a well-tolerated functional appliance that has been proven to be an essential tool for certain cases to achieve ideal bite correction.

If you have any further questions about why you or your child was recommended a MARA appliance do not hesitate to reach out via phone or email. We are welcoming new patients for complimentary initial consultations and are happy to discuss your specific needs. Thank you and please let us know any future blog topics you would like to have me write about.