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Functional Orthodontic Appliances and Alternatives to Braces?

Orthodontic appliances help you realign your smile and get the results you've freamt of.

Most of the time, an orthodontic issue involves both misaligned teeth and jaws, and while most of the time we think that braces will solve the problem, more often than not, patients will require the use of functional orthodontic appliances to correct their bad bite issues completely.

What Is a Functional Appliance in Orthodontics

Functional appliances are removable or fixed orthodontic devices whose objective is to correct a patient’s malocclusion, more specifically, class two malocclusions and sometimes type three malocclusions.

As a reminder, orthodontists determine that a patient presents some type of malocclusion when their teeth or jaws don’t align properly. Different types of malocclusion fall under three classes. Functional appliances treat the last two.

  • Class two malocclusion occurs when the patient’s upper teeth protrude significantly over the lower row of teeth.
  • Type three malocclusion is the opposite. The lower jaw and teeth protrude over the upper teeth.

Both types can lead to difficulties eating, speaking, and more.

To fix these orthodontic issues, functional appliances use the forces your facial muscles produce to move the jaws into their ideal positions. If needed, orthodontic appliances can also help shape the growth of your dental structures, such as the twin block appliance.

What Are the Different Types of Functional Orthodontic Appliances?

Given that orthodontic patients can have many different types of malocclusions affecting them at the same time and in different combinations, there is a great variety of functional orthodontic appliances that work best for different specific cases.

Most of the time, orthodontists will recommend removable appliances, but there are occasions when a fixed appliance fits best. If you have a removable appliance, it is crucial that you wear it for the recommended hours per day.

Following your orthodontist’s instructions during your orthodontic treatment will get you faster and expected results.

Here are a few examples of functional appliances.

Herbst Appliance

As with most functional appliances, the Herbst appliance is meant for a patient who suffers from type two malocclusion and still developing their dental structures.

The Herbst appliance consists of a stainless steel telescope-like mechanism that attaches to each of your first molar teeth. The appliance pushes forward your lower jaw and upper jaw backward to correct the existing protrusion.

What Are Orthodontic Braces?

Orthodontic braces are dental devices made to fix various teeth misalignment issues. Whether it is for baby or permanent teeth, with the help of braces and your Newburyport top-rated orthodontist, you can get the beautiful, healthy, straight smile you always wanted. 

Braces are a very common appliance that works by applying gentle and persistent pressure on your teeth. They can fix issues such as deep bites, underbites, gaps between teeth, and more.

Traditional Metal Braces

Traditional metal braces are the most common type of orthodontic appliance in Peabody. They have three main parts to them, the metal wire called archwire, the metal pieces that stick to each tooth called brackets, and the ligatures which hold together the archwire and the brackets.

They are very good at fixing various teeth and jaw issues, have great durability, and have more accuracy in moving teeth when compared to clear aligners.

Ceramic Braces

Ceramic braces are almost identical to traditional metal braces in Peabody. The only difference is the materials used to make each part. As the name implies, the brackets that stick to each individual tooth use ceramics instead of metal to give a more natural look. The ceramic brackets can be clear or tooth-colored, and sometimes even the archwire is white.

If you are comparing ceramic braces and Invisalign costs in Newburyport, you should know that according to Healthline, ceramic braces might average a bit more than conventional metal braces, but if you want to get a more accurate estimate for your case, you’ll have to contact our office in Newburyport for more.

Self-Ligating Braces

Once again, this type of orthodontic appliance is very similar to metal braces but with a few differences. Self-ligating braces discard the use of metal or rubber band ligatures that normally appear in metal and ceramic braces. Instead, the brackets that they use have a mechanism that latches the archwire in place.

With this system, cleaning is easier, adjustment appointments are generally faster, and the special brackets tend to be more comfortable.

What Is an Orthodontic Retainer?

Orthodontic retainers are specialized orthodontic appliance that, instead of helping teeth move, prevents any such movements. Do you know how every patient is very excited and constantly asking when their treatment will be done so they can stop wearing their clear aligners or traditional metal braces?

We certainly do.

The thing is, there is another stage that very few patients are aware of at the start of their specialized care. The retention stage is just as important as the active phase of orthodontics.

The only reason why we can realign your teeth without the need for surgical interventions or reconstructions in most cases is that when we apply enough force over a long period, your teeth begin to move and the supporting jaw bone dissolves until we can move things around a little.

This same principle can work against your hard-earned results. Orthodontic relapse is what happens when you’re done with your braces and your teeth begin to slide back into an unwanted position.

The only way to effectively protect your newly realigned smile against that is to use a retainer that leaves things in place while your periodontal tissues and jawbone accept the new position.

Find the Correct Appliance for You

We offer solutions for patients of all ages. You can come to our Newburyport or Peabody locations for treatments that are ideal for adults and children. Indeed, our Newburyport orthodontics for teens, here at Pavlo Orthodontics, we’ll help you, or your child, find the appliance that best fits your specific case and situation, whether it is a functional appliance, braces, or both. Keep in mind you can also visit our orthodontic office in Peabody for your convenience.

For more questions or if you wish to schedule an appointment, you can contact us here. If you wish to go through our complimentary exam, please fill in your information on this page.