Functional orthodontics can be used to treat most orthodontic conditions if caught at an early stage. This treatment maximizes the growth of the lower and upper arches in order to gain space for the permanent teeth. When a person has narrow arches or jawbones, they can cause teeth to come in crowded. Later on this condition requires lengthy treatment with braces. 90% of the face is usually fully developed by the age of 12 and functional orthodontics can be used to develop a child’s bite problem to avoid a more lengthy and costly treatment at an older age.
Many patients with receding lower jaws, deep overbites, or narrow jaws have unhealthy jaw joints which can cause:
- Facial pain
- Locking or clicking jaw
- Ringing in the ears
- Difficulty opening jaw
Functional orthodontics is designed to prevent:
- Breakage or damage to front teeth due to bad alignment
- Crooked teeth
- Establish teeth stability to allow teeth remain where they are supposed to stay
- Speech difficulty
- Lengthy use of braces
- Fang like tooth appearance
- Removal of adult teeth
- Jaw joint problems
- Airway problems
- Deep overbites
- Crowded teeth
- Narrow arches/ underdeveloped jaws
- Bite problems
Apart from genetics, poor oral habits can also cause unattractive smiles and narrow arches. Habits such as abnormal swallowing, thumb sucking and mouth breathing can be addressed during functional orthodontics treatment. Functional appliances are used to help a patient achieve a beautiful smile and a balanced face.
Effects of Braces On Facial Structure
The use braces is one of the orthodontic treatments that has the biggest effect on a patient’s face. Lips, cheeks and the shape of the mouth depend heavily on the teeth and jaw structure and altering the alignment of these features does have a dramatic effect on the contour of the face. Functional orthodontic treatment focuses on several things when it comes to attaining and maintaining an ideal facial profile.
- Ensure jaw and tooth alignment is complimentary to facial balance and symmetry
- Achieve proper tooth alignment that is comfortable for the patient and is functional
- Helps to enhance facial features and establish a smile that is straight
- Keep the treatment pain free as well as ensure the end results are lasting
How Functional Orthodontics Works
As mentioned earlier, functional orthodontics works best in early stages of a child’s life. It works better in conjunction with a patient’s development and growth and should begin when children are around the age four to five. There are two phases in the treatment program.
Phase one involves the use of oral appliances which are fitted on patients to develop their lower and upper jaw bones. Timeframes for the treatment generally last from 9-18 months, but sometimes can last longer.
In phase 2, the jaws will have developed and almost all the permanent teeth will have appeared. Patients are required to wear braces to straighten their teeth and the treatment may last another 9-18 months or longer. Before beginning functional orthodontics, you need to discuss with your dentist all available options and find out how long the full course of the treatment will take for your case.