FAQ – Functionals

The Midlands Orthodontic Specialists in Birmingham

What is the reason for having a functional brace?

A functional appliance is very good for changing the relationship between your upper and lower teeth. Most are used to reduce prominent upper front teeth and if they work well they can reduce the need for the extraction of teeth.

Will it affect my speech?

Removable braces are difficult to speak with at first and swallowing and eating are also difficult. With full time wear you will adapt but normally speech is distorted while the removable brace is in place.

Will it be uncomfortable?

Anything new in your mouth will feel strange but at first that is the only difference. The brace should not be painful when fitted but will start to ache as your teeth begin to move. Normal pain relief is all that is needed. Sometimes a part of the brace becomes more uncomfortable and if so you can come and see us for it to be adjusted. Eating, speaking and swallowing are more difficult at first, but all of these things improve hugely, as long as the brace is kept in your mouth full time. Full time means at night and during the day. It won’t work in your pocket…

When will I have a fixed brace?

Normally removable braces are only used for about six months or less but with functional appliances we may continue for up to a year. We may fit part of the upper fixed brace (if you need one) during that time. We will monitor your bite and let you know when you will be ready to have your fixed brace. In younger patients who still have baby teeth we may have to wait until more of the adult teeth are through to be able to start the fixed brace phase of treatment.

Will it hurt to have it fitted?

No, it should not hurt to have the brace fitted.

How much do I have to wear it?

24 hours a day is best.

How long will I have to wear it?

Normally six to 12 months.

When and how often will I need appointments?

We will normally see you every few months.

How long will the appointments be?

Normally about 10 to 15 minutes.

Will it affect jaw growth?

Yes but all of the good research clearly shows that this is around 0.5 to 1mm per year and this is not clinically significant.

Will it affect my jaw joints?

It is unlikely to but if you have a pre-existing joint problem such as arthritis or a jaw joint problem, we may avoid using a functional appliance. This would mean exploring other options.

Will people be able to see it?

Usually there is a single metal bar across the upper front teeth which can be seen.

When will I see any changes?

Usually within a few months, as long as it is worn full time.

Will this do all of my treatment?

Usually not because there is a tendency for the teeth to relapse if we stop too early or don’t go onto fixed brace treatment.

Will I need a fixed brace?

Most people will need a fixed brace to finish a functional appliance treatment.

How long will I have to wait for them?

The laboratory normally takes about four weeks to make a removable appliance. If there are special circumstances they will always try and turn them around quicker.

How do I clean them?

Usually it is best to clean them after every meal. You can use toothbrush and toothpaste but there are also products such as Brace Mate and Retainer Brite that you can soak the brace in to freshen it up.

How do I clean my teeth with them in?

You don’t. It is best to remove the brace, brush your teeth, then clean your brace before putting it straight back in.

Can I play sports with them in?

With removable braces it is best to take them out for contact sports or anything requiring lots of energy.

I have a metal allergy, will this be a problem?

We would need to redesign the removable brace to avoid the use of stainless steel as this can release nickel, although it is rare for people to experience true nickel allergy in the mouth, it is normally only a problem on the skin. Let us know if you have any concerns.

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