What are functional appliances

15 December, 2016

Crooked teeth aren’t the only orthodontic issue which can impact aesthetic appearance. A misaligned bite or teeth sticking out too far can cause people to feel self-conscious over their otherwise straight smile.

This is where functional appliances can help. Designed for young people with still-growing jaws, functional appliances take advantage of this natural growth potential to correct orthodontic issues.

So how will you know if functional appliances are the right option for you? We’ve put together some information to help make the decision.

Treatment with Functional Appliances

Due to the fact that some functional appliances are removable, they can be seen as an easier option to braces. However, it’s important to keep in mind the success of this treatment relies on the patient’s dedication to wearing them. Unlike braces which are fitted to work their magic, functional appliances can often be removed, which can make them more convenient, but it also means they require co-operation from the wearer.

To work properly the appliances must be worn almost all of the time, removed for eating, and brushing your teeth.

Functional appliances are relatively painless, but may feel a bit strange for the first couple of days. Your speech will be different for a few days and you might feel an excess build-up of saliva in your mouth. These problems should pass in 2-3 days.

Types of Functional Appliances

Solas Orthodontics offers various types of functional appliances, including Twin-Block appliances and Bionators.

Twin-Block Appliances

A Twin-Block appliance consists of two acrylic plates, one for the upper and one for the lower jaw. Blocks built into each plate fit together in a position that corrects the jaw alignment and helps them come together properly. The plates are used to hold the new position until the teeth, jaws and joints have adapted to it – usually for about 9-12 months.

Twin-blocks are useful for correcting underdeveloped lower jaws and realigning bites, but they can also treat teeth that stick out too far and they can be modified to create space for overcrowded teeth.


A Bionator is a single removable appliance which contacts both the upper and lower teeth. It is a popular option for younger patients since it is painless and can come in a variety of colours, including glitter sparkles and glow-in-the-dark!

If you want to find out more about functional appliances, get in touch with us today.