July’s Tip

The Utility Arch, Part I

By Dr. Adrian J. Palencar, MUDr, MAGD, IBO, FADI, FPFA, FICD

July 2023

The definition of the Utility Arch from Google:

“The utility arch is a two-couple intrusion arch wire used for control of anterior deep overbite. It is commonly made with rectangular wire, attached to the teeth only at the molars and the incisors and is activated for incisor intrusion by a molar tip back bend.”

The definition is succinct; however, it does not describe all functions this appliance can deliver.  It can be utilized for intrusion, extrusion, protrusion, retrusion, space maintenance and for molar control. There are two moments of the couple in each sextant, one on the lateral incisor and one on the molar.

The utility arch was first published by Dr. Charles Burstone (1928-2015), the father of Biomechanics and further developed by Dr. Robert M. Ricketts (1920-2003), the pioneer of Bio-progressive orthodontic treatment.

The Utility arch is constructed from a .016 x .016 SS wire, and it is undersized in a .022 x 028 slot – it means that it can rotate it in the buccal tube.  It is author’s opinion that it is easier to make the bends on the flat surface of the arch wire than on the round one, thus the square wire.

Not too many clinicians are willing to spend time and effort to bend a Utility arch.  Therefore, it is available in a prefabricated form a .016 x .016 and a .018, Stainless steel, also in Nitanium super elastic or Bio-kinetix+ Thermally activated.

 A simplified prefabricated version of the Utility arch was designed and developed by Dr, Ravindra Nanda – Connecticut Intrusion Arch (CIA).  It is available in a .019 x .022 and a .017 x .025 (long and short) – Nitanium super elastic or CNA Beta 3.

Please compare the evolution of the Utility arch.  If the material and the thickness of the wire would be the same, the only difference is the length of the wire.  The longer is the wire, the gentler is the force, and the function is the same.

As the readers may notice, the simplest way to fabricate the intrusive (or any other) arch is Mulligan mechanics.  The applied force can be titrated by the amount of Tip back (less acute angle than the Utility arch).  The force should be measured by the Gram gage. The following pliers may help you bending the Utility arch.

 Nance Loop Forming pliers  
Tweed Loop Forming Pliers
Gram Gage


  1. Cerum Ortho Organizers catalogue
  2. Rondeau Seminars, Level I, Session 3
  3. Palencar A. J. Case Finishing and Mechanics manual