Some problems that orthodontic specialists are trained to deal with involve correcting jaw disharmonies using dentofacial orthopaedics. In growing patients, functional appliances can be used to put the jaws in balance, achieve good facial muscle function and create natural facial proportions. Functional appliances are available in many forms with different names. Activators, monoblocs, bionators, and Frankels are only a few of those available. It is essential that orthodontic screening be done at an early age (7 or 8 years) to ensure that it is not too late to use functional appliances. These appliances can be designed to not only move teeth but also correct the alignment of the jaws which hold the teeth. The most common objective is to correct an underdeveloped lower jaw.
Functional appliances can sometimes be used alone to correct a problem but often correct treatment can only be provided by a combined approach using functional appliances as well as "Fixed" appliances. An orthodontic specialist is properly trained to diagnose your problem correctly and recommend the right treatment.
Some points to follow, when you are wearing a functional appliance.
- The more time spent wearing your appliance, the faster you will get to your goal.
- If you get any sore spots on your gums, don't try to adjust the appliance yourself, see your orthodontic specialist so it can be made comfortable.
- Be careful when you remove your appliance for eating and for brushing. Never wrap it in a napkin or put it in your pocket. It is best to keep it in the special case your orthodontic specialist provided with your name and address on the outside.
- While wearing your functional appliance, keep your lips together as much as possible. This will make the appliance work faster and it will not fall out at night.