Functional Appliances

Functional Appliances

Functional appliances are removable or fixed appliances that are used in growing children in a bid to modify the position or size of the jaws. This results in the correction of jaw size and positional problems which help improve the bite. There are many types of functional appliances each designed differently but all share the same biomechanical principles – they all 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 appliance 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 an upper and lower plate, or a single plate that are custom made to your child’s teeth and jaws. They come in an enormous selection of colours and patterns so it becomes somewhat of a fashion statement for kids, showing off to their friends and really taking ownership of the plates, which helps tremendously with the success of the treatment.

There are also fixed functional appliances which as the name suggests, are fixed in the mouth and are not removed. 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+

Do I have to wear my appliances at all times?

Your orthodontist will instruct you in 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 suppose 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.

Caring for your appliances

Clean your appliances at least twice a day with either liquid soap and water or a toothbrush without toothpaste. If your appliances are removable, please remove your appliances when eating, brushing your teeth or if you are playing sport. Make sure to get into a habit of giving them a thorough wash after each meal, and at morning and night.

For removable functional appliances, toothpaste should not be used as it contains silica particles which are abrasive and can affect the appearance of the plates. They can be soaked in ‘Retainer Brite’ to improve their taste. Never put in hot or boiling water.

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.

Are appliances comfortable?

Plates are usually very comfortable (no pain involved), but take a little getting use to for a few days. Expect them to feel like a mouthful the first couple of days, your speech to sound a bit funny and a bit of drool the first two nights. Most patients will have no issues with speech past the first 10 days.

Damaged or lost appliances

Damaged or lost plates and other appliances lengthen treatment time and can add costs to treatment. Please look after appliances to make your treatment goes 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.

Other Orthodontic Options