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Funtional Appliances

Functional appliances are devices used to correct a significant disharmony in the relationship between the upper and lower jaws. They work by influencing the growth and development of a growing patient.

The most common use of a functional appliance is to encourage the forward growth of a retrusive or "under-developed" lower jaw. The functional appliance holds the lower jaw forward over a period until the teeth, jaws and joints have "adapted" and the desired jaw position has been obtained.

The effectiveness of a functional appliance depends on:

  • how much the appliance is worn
  • how quickly the patient is growing

Functional appliances align the jaws not the teeth, so they are usually used as a first stage of treatment (in a growing patient with a significant jaw disharmony) prior to the alignment of the teeth with fixed appliances (braces).

An example of a fixed functional appliance is an RME (RApid Maxillary Expander) and a removable functional appliance is a twin block and removable appliance (RA)

Passive Appliances

Passive Appliances are plates that are not designed to move teeth. An example of a passive appliance is a retainer and a lower holding arch.

Removable Appliances

Removable appliance treatment usually begins after the four upper front teeth have erupted (ages 7-9) and can be necessary when:

  • undefinedupper front teeth protrude
  • lower front teeth protrude
  • teeth are in crossbite
  • upper and /or lower arches are too narrow

The aim is to move your teeth into a position where they will be less prone to injury and to normalise jaw growth.

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