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The Use of Functional Appliances in Orthodontics: Types and Effectiveness

Posted on 4/15/2024 by Weo Admin
A young person with clear alignersIf your orthodontist recently proposed resolving your bite issues using a functional appliance, you may be wondering - what exactly are those, and how do they work? Let us look at what role functional appliances play in modern orthodontic care.

Definition and Purpose

Functional appliances enhance natural growth processes in correcting misaligned teeth or skeletal discrepancies during adolescent facial development. Worn for specific daily durations, these devices gently guide jaw positions, enabling normal muscle functions like talking and chewing. Targeting growth and muscle adaptation means functional appliance therapy is initiated earlier, starting between ages 8 and 12. Correcting discrepancies in childhood before accelerated maturity better ensures stable outcomes.

Types of Functional Appliances

Functional appliances are available in two variations. First, removable designs that can be easily removed from the mouth, and second, fixed options cemented to the teeth, similar to braces.

Removable Options

As the name suggests, these function as retainers inserted and taken out of the mouth. Besides passively holding corrections in place, removable designs actively stimulate change in the growth process when engaged. Examples include the Bionator, Frankel, and Twin Block appliances.

Fixed Options

Fixed on teeth via cement bonding like braces, these function around the clock. Fixed functional appliances offer consistent forces but are not removable. The MARA and Herbst are two commonly used fixed-function appliances.

Both appliance types utilize light forces to profile facial development in preferred directions. These include widening and/or lengthening the upper/lower jaws, influencing airway adequacy, and positioning the bite.

Supplementary Treatment

Functional therapy often proceeds full braces to direct growth patterns in an ideal direction from an early age. Then, comprehensive braces perfect the occlusion and smile alignment starting around adolescence through the completion of craniofacial growth. Some limited conditions respond well to functional appliances alone. But most cases involve supplemental treatment with braces and possibly oral surgery if skeletal discrepancies prove too pronounced for just appliance therapy.

Let Us Assess the Options

Functional appliances offer an adolescence-friendly path toward widening smiles and enhancing facial balance as an adjunct for braces and surgery when indicated. Schedule a consultation so we can perform the measurements necessary to prescribe which custom functional devices make sense for the exciting smile journey of your child.

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Star Orthodontics - Dr. Roxanne Robertson, 4750 S. Padre Island Dr. Suite 101, Corpus Christi, Tx 78411 \ 361-371-8555 \ \ 5/14/2024 \ Page Phrases: orthodontist Corpus Christi \