Orthodontic treatment has come a long way in recent years, and one of the most popular options available to patients is the functional appliance. Functional appliances are designed to treat malocclusions, or misaligned teeth and jaws, by harnessing the natural growth of a patient’s bones and muscles. In this blog, we’ll discuss why a functional appliance could straighten crooked teeth.
What is a Functional Appliance?
A functional appliance is an orthodontic device designed to correct skeletal discrepancies. Unlike traditional braces, which use brackets and wires to apply pressure to teeth, functional appliances work by manipulating the position and growth of the jawbones. They typically consist of two pieces. One is for the upper jaw and one for the lower jaw and is connected by screws or springs.
How Does a Functional Appliance Work?
Functional appliances work by applying a gentle force to the jawbones, encouraging them to grow in a more favorable position. By wearing a functional appliance, patients can correct malocclusions caused by an inequality between the upper and lower jaws. For example, it can correct an overbite, where the upper teeth protrude over the lower teeth, or an underbite, where the lower teeth protrude over the upper teeth.
Functional appliances work by harnessing the natural growth potential of the bones and muscles in the jaw. By applying a gentle force to the jaws, functional appliances encourage the bones to grow in a more favourable position. This can help to align the teeth and improve the overall appearance of the face. Because functional appliances work with the body’s natural growth process, they are often more comfortable to wear than traditional braces.
What are the Advantages of Functional Appliances?
There are several advantages to using functional appliances to straighten teeth:
1.No need for extraction: Traditional orthodontic treatment often involves the extraction of teeth to create space for the remaining teeth to move into. However, functional appliances work by manipulating the position of the jawbones, so there is no need for extractions.
2. Shorter treatment time: Because functional appliances work with the body’s natural growth process, treatment times are often shorter than with traditional braces.
3. More comfortable: Traditional braces can be uncomfortable and even painful particularly after adjustments. Functional appliances are often more comfortable to wear because they apply a gentle force to the jaws.
4. Improved facial appearance: By correcting skeletal discrepancies, functional appliances can improve the overall appearance of the face.
5.No dietary restrictions: Patients with traditional braces need to avoid certain foods that can damage the brackets and wires. However, functional appliances have no dietary restrictions, so patients can continue to eat their favourite foods.
Who Can Benefit from Functional Appliances?
Functional appliances are typically used to treat skeletal discrepancies in children and adolescents, although they can be used in adults as well. Because functional appliances work by manipulating the position and growth of the jawbones, they are most effective in patients whose bones are still growing. This means that treatment is usually recommended for children and adolescents, although it is never too late to consider orthodontic treatment, as adult patients can still achieve great results with functional appliances.
Functional appliances are a popular and effective way to straighten teeth, particularly when skeletal discrepancies are involved. By manipulating the position and growth of the jawbones, functional appliances can correct malocclusions without the need for extractions. Treatment times are often shorter than traditional braces, and because functional appliances work with the body’s natural growth process, they are often more comfortable to wear. If you are interested in learning more about functional appliances and how they could benefit you or your child, contact your orthodontist today to schedule a consultation.