Orthodontic functional appliances are orthodontic appliances used to modify the growth of the upper jaw or the lower jaw. They are used in growing teenagers around the age of puberty because the appliances take advantage of the pubertal growth spurt.
These functional appliances can be used when there is a deficiency in the growth of either the upper jaw or the lower jaw.
WHAT TO EXPECT
Your dentist will introduce himself to you.
He/she will take a history from you, examine your mouth and take radiographs as necessary.
For orthodontic treatments, a panoramic radiograph and a cephalometric x-ray are usually taken.
Based on the examination and x-ray findings, the doctor will be able to decide if you require a functional appliance or not.
If you require functional appliance therapy, he/she will discuss the procedure with you and he/she will carry you along from start to finish.
Your dentist will take an impression of your mouth, he/she will also take photographs of your teeth and face for treatment records.
The impression will be used to make models of your mouth; the models will include a study model which will be used for treatment records and another model on which the appliance will be fabricated.
On your next visit, the appliance will be fitted and if it is satisfactory, you will be asked to go home with it. You will also be given post-insertion instructions.
Some functional appliances may require extra-oral orthopaedic appliances to further modify the growth of the upper jaw or the lower jaw.
Ensure you adhere to the post-procedure instructions given to you. These instructions are important for successful therapy. Your dentist will give you more information.
Some of these instructions include:
– You may be asked to wear the appliances for at least 6 hours for an initial period of two weeks. This serves as a training period for you to get used to the appliance.
– After the initial two weeks, when you have gotten used to the appliance, the period of wearing the appliance will be gradually increased. You may be asked to wear the appliance for 10-14 hours a day. These hours should be in the evening.
– The appliance should also be worn at night
– Inform your dentist of any concern you may have
- Ensure you book your next appointment before you leave the clinic.
- Keep all follow up appointments.
- Ensure good oral hygiene is maintained. This is absolutely important especially because of the appliance in the mouth which may trap food particles and dental plaque.
No, functional appliances are only used in growing teenagers. The age for boys is about 11 to 14 years, the age for girls is about 10 to 13 years.
Many times, functional appliance therapy is not sufficient to complete orthodontic treatment. So, fixed appliances (braces) are usually used to complete the treatment after functional appliance therapy.