Functional appliances are used both to move the teeth and to modify the growth of the jaws . The most common objective is to correct a small lower jaw. Occasionally a functional appliance, is the only orthodontic treatment that is required for a patient . However more commonly fixed appliances are also required and are either worn at the same time or after the functional appliance. Functional appliances when indicated are worn when the patient is going through their pubertal growth spurt. To help take advantage of the normal facial growth which is already occurring. Functional appliances are either removable or fixed.

Functional Braces
Functional appliances

Functional braces are a family of braces that use the power of the chewing and face muscles to guide the teeth into better positions. They are especially useful in growing patients. Functional braces can be removable (for example the Activator and the Twin-Block braces) or fixed in the mouth.

Back to the top

A Lower Lingual Arch acts as a space maintainer to keep the molars from drifting forward, and prevent them from blocking the space where permanent teeth will eventually erupt. This appliance is commonly used in cases of premature loss of baby tooth or when the lower teeth of a growing child are slightly crowded and no permanent teeth are extracted to correct the problem.

You should expect soreness the first day or two, and it may hurt to chew. We recommend a soft diet initially. You may take Advil or Tylenol to relieve the pain. Avoid sticky or hard foods, and please monitor how many foods you eat that are high in sugar.

Brushing and flossing daily is very important. Be sure to clean around the bands that are connected to the molars and the wire on the tongue side. This will prevent the formation of cavities or infection of the gums.

The duration of wear varies. We will monitor the eruption of new teeth and make adjustments. Generally, the Lower Lingual Arch is removed following the eruption of all the permanent teeth.

Back to the top

The Twin Block functional appliance is designed to correct jaw positioning, so that the bite is properly aligned. It consists of an upper and lower plate, which work together to pull the lower jaw forward. While this appliance is suitable for patients of all ages, it is generally used during Phase 1 of orthodontic treatment, to treat children who have an underdeveloped jaw. To ensure treatment progresses as planned, the appliance should be worn at all times. It should only be removed for cleaning and during sport activities. Patients may experience temporary discomfort and difficulty speaking the first few days of wear. We will provide specific instructions for activating the screw. Patients should follow instructions carefully to ensure effective results are achieved within the least amount of time.

When patients are still growing, their connective tissue between the left and right halves of their upper jaw is very responsive to expansion. By simply activating the expander through turning a screw in the center, with a special key we provide, gradual outward pressure is placed on the left and right halves of the upper jaw. This pressure causes an increased amount of bone to grow between the right and left halves of the jaw, ultimately resulting in an increased width.