If your Orthodontist has advised you that you might need a functional appliances, here are a few questions you may want answers for:
What is a functional appliance?
A functional appliance is a removable brace that works on the upper and lower teeth at the same time. If worn properly, it has the capacity to change the way the jaws grow.
How much do I need to wear the brace?
The number of hours per day that you are expected to wear the brace will be explained to you. For the treatment to work it is important you follow these instructions. With the correct number of hours of wear you may find the improvement in the position of your teeth can be quite dramatic.
Will it be painful?
Your teeth might be sore for about 3-5 days each time the brace is adjusted. After a few months, you may even find that your jaw joints ache if you tried to bite the old way. The soreness can be relieved by painkillers you’d normally take for a headache. If there is an obvious area of soreness as a result of the brace, see your Orthodontist as soon as possible. At the same time, try not to stop wearing the brace or else you will have to go through the 3-5 days of discomfort all over again.
How else might it affect me?
Your speech will be different. Practice speaking with the brace in place e.g. read out aloud at home on your own and your speech will improve in a couple of days. You may also find yourself swallowing a lot to begin with. This is quite normal and will quickly pass.
Can I eat normally?
You may find eating difficult with the functional appliance in place. Whether you have to do it or not will depend on your orthodontist’s advice.
What about tooth brushing?
You should brush three times a day. You can use your tooth brush and paste to clean the appliance as well. Do it carefully so as not to damage or distort the wire components.
How long will treatment take?
This will vary depending on the severity of your case. Most work with this brace is completed in about 9-12 months. Bear in mind that these braces improve the jaw position only. A second phase of treatment with fixed braces may be necessary to fine tune the position of the teeth. Your orthodontist will advice you accordingly.