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Types of Functional Appliances in Orthodontics

Updated: Nov 29, 2022

There are two basic types of functional appliances in dentistry. These are fixed appliances and removable ones. Fixed appliances are used to correct irregularities in the dental alignment and correct overjet. Usually, patients wear removable appliances during the first part of treatment and then move on to the fixed appliances for the second part of treatment. Here is a brief description of each type of appliance. It should be noted that functional appliances are most effective when used during a child's jaw development, but can also be used for adults.

Teen wearing functional appliance

Class II functional appliances are commonly used to correct moderate cases of malocclusion. They help to facilitate mandibular growth by enhancing the condylar head's positioning in a forward posture. Additionally, they contribute to skeletal correction and an improved profile. About 60-70% of the change is due to dentoalveolar effects. Besides, functional appliances inhibit forward and downward eruption of the maxillary teeth, as well as retroclination of the upper incisors.

The types of functional appliances used in dentistry are varied and include removable, fixed, and active tooth-borne appliances. These appliances use forces generated by the orofacial muscles to affect the position of teeth. Most of them are used to correct Class II or milder Class III malocclusions. However, they do not contain active components to move the teeth. Functional appliances can be divided into three types: tissue-borne appliances, active tooth-borne appliances, and removable.

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