Functional Appliance Treatment

What is a functional appliance?

It is sometimes possible to change the way the jaws grow, using functional appliances. These appliances use the power of your jaw muscles to move your teeth and can help with certain types of problem. Most functional appliances are of the removable type and are worn on both the top and bottom jaws. The orthodontist will tell you how many hours a day it should be worn.

How long does treatment take?

The speed of treatment depends on a number of things and every person responds differently to treatment, however the difficulty of the case and the age of the patient determines treatment time. Other factors such as missed appointments and breakages will lengthen treatment time. Functional appliances work very rapidly if worn as instructed. Unfortunately the teeth tend to move back to their original positions very rapidly if left out of the mouth.

How long will it take me to get used to my functional appliance?

Functional appliances are bulky and keep your lower jaw forwards of its normal position, making them uncomfortable once they’re fitted. They will be uncomfortable for the first day but you will rapidly get used to them and you should be completely back to normal within a week. Resist the temptation to leave them out, as you will then have to start all over again. Keep it in. Anything new in your mouth will produce a lot of saliva and you will be swallowing a lot. This is perfectly normal and will wear off after a couple of hours. Sucking on a sugar free sweet or mint often helps for the first hour or two. Your speech will improve once the saliva stops flowing. However the brace will affect your speech for a few days. Practice speaking aloud and your speech  will return to normal very rapidly. These appliances put pressure on the teeth and may make the teeth tender to touch. This will wear off in a few days and can be controlled with painkillers. Sometimes the appliance makes the gums sore, most commonly in the lower jaw on the tongue side. Make an appointment to see the orthodontist and tell the receptionist that the brace is hurting the gum. It is important for the orthodontist to see the sore spot so do not leave the brace out before the appointment.