What are Functional Appliances?
Functional appliances are used in growing patients to create a harmonious profile and a more attractive facial appearance. They may help avoid the need for surgical correction of the lower jaw position in later life.
When someone’s lower jaw is “ set-back” it can give the impression that their upper front teeth are too far forward and prominent. It may also be difficult to close the lips together.
Wearing a functional appliance during growth will encourage the lower jaw to move forward, reducing the apparent prominence of the upper front teeth and making it much easier to close the lips together.
Why choose Functional Appliances?
- Functional appliances correct jaw alignment in children and teenagers.
- Using functional appliances in childhood and adolescence helps avoid problems in later life and potential need for surgery.
- Functional appliances can help if you are unhappy with your lower jaw position and feel it is too far back.
- Functional appliances can help create a good facial profile and harmony.
Before and after photos of a 12 year old girl with a set back lower jaw, prominent upper teeth and difficulty in closing her lips.
She wore a Twin Block functional appliance for around 12 months. After which her lower jaw has been guided to a better position, improving her facial harmony and enabling her to close her lips much more easily.
What our patients say
The Twin Block
There are several different designs of functional appliance; the Twin Block is often used with great success.
These appliances are bulky and it takes a few days to get used to them. It is really important to practice speaking with the appliances in place so they cause little inconvenience.
Opinions vary on how much time they need to be worn for; it is usually between 12 and 15 hours per day. The best thing is to follow your orthodontist’s advice.
After the lower jaw has settled into a good position it is likely that upper and lower fixed appliances will be fitted to fully align crooked teeth.
If you are concerned about your child’s lower jaw position please contact us and we can arrange a consultation with our Orthodontist.
Functional appliances work in growing patients so are ideally worn just before the adolescent growth spurt which occurs around 10 -12 years of age in girls and 11-13 in boys. But we are all different and the growth spurt can be earlier or later.
If you are concerned about your facial profile (side view), prominent upper front teeth, upper front teeth which are leaning backwards, or the position of your lower jaw an orthodontic consultation can help.
This varies and is usually around 12 months to see good results; a period of retention to maintain the improved jaw position is necessary. This can be with the same functional appliance or another design of removable brace. Many patients continue on to the fixed appliance stage of their orthodontic treatment straight after functional appliances have worked their magic! Fixed appliances align irregular teeth.
It will feel strange at first while your mouth, tongue and teeth get used to wearing rather bulky removable functional appliances. Learning to speak clearly when wearing your appliances is very important – it means you can wear your appliances for longer and speak with your friends normally.
There are no serious side effects and your orthodontist will discuss all risks with you before any appliances are fitted.
Talk to your parents or guardians and ask them to arrange an orthodontic consultation so you can find out the best way to help improve your facial profile and jaw position as well as your tooth positions.
Meet Our Specialist Orthodontist
Denise Taylor - Specialist Orthodontist
Specialist in Orthodontics - BDS Lpool and Dorth RCS
Dr Denise Taylor originally qualified as a dentist at Liverpool University. She then undertook Specialist orthodontic training for several years, culminating in the Diploma in Orthodontics of the Royal College of Surgeons of England.
Denise is on the Specialist List in Orthodontics and has worked as a specialist in both NHS hospitals and private practice. Denise is certified in the provision of Incognito braces and Damon System appliances and is highly skilled in all contemporary orthodontic techniques