Functional Braces

What are functional braces?  

These are appliances which can usually be removed from the mouth and are commonly made from acrylic with some metal components. They are worn in the upper and lower jaws together in order to change the way in which your jaws function, hence the name, functional braces. On the right you can see an example of a functional brace and the type of bite they are typically used to correct.   

When are functional braces used?

Functional braces are used to change the way in which you bite and are often used when the top teeth stick out. They work best in patients that are growing and in patients that wear them well. Treatment is often timed with the growth spurt which occurs at slightly different times for girls than it does for boys. Generally, treatment starts anywhere between the ages of 10 and 13. These braces are not usually as effective for adults since they have reached adults levels of growth.   

How are they made?

All that is required are impressions or a scan (detailed record of your teeth and bite). These are sent to a laboratory with instructions of the type of functional brace that is need. Construction of the braces usually takes between 1 and 3 weeks. You are also likely to have some X-rays taken and some clinical photographs.      

How often will I need to be seen by the orthodontist?   

You will need to be reviewed every 6 to 8 weeks as the brace will become loose with time and the parts of the brace moving the teeth will also need adjusting. 

How long will treatment with a functional brace take?

Treatment duration varies but the average time is about 12 months. After this time, you may have to wear the brace for a further 3 months during sleeping hours. It is quite common for patients to need a course of Metal Fixed Braces or Tooth Coloured Fixed Braces afterwards.