Functional appliances are removable or fixed appliances that are used in growing children in a bid to modify the position of the teeth within the jaws. They may address tooth positional problems which in turn help improve the bite. There are many types of functional appliances each designed differently but all share the same biomechanical principles and so all essentially work the same way.
Jaw and bite problems can occur in all three dimensions of space which is also why there are so many different functional appliances available. Functional appliances have been around for over 100 years and are primarily used for the treatment of Class II malocclusions (an underdeveloped lower jaw where the upper teeth appear to stick out). Functional appliances have also been developed to treat Class III malocclusions (an overdeveloped or large lower jaw that sits forward relative to the upper jaw), anterior open bites (where the front teeth do not close together), deep bites (where there is a large vertical overlap between the front teeth) and others.
Removable functional appliances are basically a set of upper and lower plates (or a single plate) that are custom-made to your child’s teeth. They can be designed in almost any colour and pattern that you want – for this reason, they often reflect their personality and encourages them to take ownership of the plates, helping tremendously with the success of treatment.
There are also fixed functional appliances which, as the name suggests, are fixed in the mouth and are not removed until the end of treatment. These are less popular as they tend to be a little chunky and less comfortable.
Examples of functional appliances include: Twin blocks, Bionator, Frankel II, Andreason Activator, Herbst, Jasper Jumper, Carrier appliance and Forsus springs, to name a few.
Functional Appliance Info+
Your orthodontist will instruct you on how to wear your custom-made functional appliances. Follow the instructions carefully as it ensures the success of your treatment and much improved outcomes. You will be seeing your orthodontist regularly for reviews to ensure that the appliances are doing what they are supposed to. Your job is an important one: look after the appliances and keep them clean.
If you are having problems with your appliances, contact the practice as soon as possible. Do not wait until your next appointment.
Clean your appliances at least twice a day with a toothbrush, using liquid soap and water, without toothpaste. Toothpaste should not be used as it contains silica particles that are abrasive and can affect the appearance of the plates. You can also soak your the appliances in white vinegar. If your appliances are removable, please remove your appliances when eating, brushing your teeth or if you are playing a contact sport. Make sure to get into a habit of giving them a thorough wash after each meal, in the morning and night.
Please always keep your removable plates in your mouth as they only work when they are worn. If you need to remove them, please make sure to keep them in the safety box provided. If they are wrapped in tissue or put in your pocket they may be lost or damaged. Be extremely careful with your plates as if you lose or damage them you will be charged for their replacement.
Follow these instructions carefully and your treatment should be an absolute success. If you have any questions please do not hesitate to contact the practice.
These appliances are usually very comfortable (cause no pain), but they do take a little getting used to, especially in the few days after fitting. Expect them to feel like a mouthful for the first couple of days, and for your speech to sound a bit funny. You will also find that your saliva flow increases during the first two nights. Most patients will have little to no issues with speech past the first 10 days.
Damaged or lost plates and other appliances lengthen the overall treatment time and can add an additional cost to treatment. Please look after your appliances to make your treatment go as smoothly as possible. If your plates or appliances are misplaced or damaged, please give us a call and let us know immediately. We will make arrangements for a new one.