Distraction can be classified in different ways.
- According to the site where it is used, it can be classified as mandibular (lower law), maxillary (upper jaw), alveolar (in teeth bearing region of the jaws), palatal (roof of the mouth) or craniofacial (skull).
- Facial bones are unique. They are not straight, so they may be needed to be moved in more than one direction to achieve the desired results. According to the direction of bone movement, distraction may be univector (bone moved in one direction), bivector (bone moved in two directions) or multivector (bone moved in multiple directions).
- According to the placement of the distractor, it is classified as Intraoral and Extraoral.
- According to anchorage it may be fixed to teeth (teeth borne) or fixed to bone using plates or screws (bone borne)
- According to the age for which it is designed, distractors can be either paediatric or adult.