If you are troubled by an overbite or don’t seem to have enough room in your upper or lower jaw for your teeth, braces might not be enough to fix it. Fixed orthodontics are primarily designed to straighten teeth. Functional orthodontics are intended to reshape your jaws to give you a better facial proportion and more room for your natural teeth. This allows you to achieve straight teeth and a healthy bite without need for tooth extraction.
Functional orthodontics requires special training and equipment to perform properly. At Harriman Family Dental, we are lucky to have a partnership with an expert in functional orthodontics at River Edge Dental. To learn whether functional orthodontics will be appropriate to improve the shape and size of your jaw, please call (845) 783-6466 today for an appointment.
Benefits of Functional Orthodontics
Functional orthodontics can achieve many goals that fixed orthodontics can’t. With functional orthodontics, you can:
- Expand the size of the jaw
- Make room for all your teeth–no need for extraction
- Create balance between the upper and lower jaws
- Improve airway to lower risk of sleep apnea
- Improve bite to reduce risk of TMJ
- Avoid jaw surgery
Functional orthodontics don’t just apply pressure to your teeth, they apply pressure to your jaw. The same mechanisms that let your body remold bone around your teeth can be utilized to encourage your body to grow and reshape bone. Thus, instead of making room for your teeth by removing teeth, we are able to create more room so that all your natural teeth will fit.
When people have a significant underbite or overbite, the problem is that one of the jaws is too small. Stimulating growth in that jaw can bring the two into harmony again.
The configuration of your jaws determines the size of your airway. By creating a more harmonious relationship between the jaws, you can reduce or eliminate airway obstructions. In a similar way, functional orthodontics can help avoid bite problems like TMJ.
For many people, the only alternative treatment that can give similar results is jaw surgery. The expense and risks associated with surgery make functional orthodontics a more appealing choice.
Fixed vs. Removable Appliances
Most functional appliances are removable. They can be taken out by the wearer. This makes for a more comfortable and flexible treatment, but it does come with risks. The greatest risk is that a person might choose not to wear their appliance as much as they should to achieve treatment goals. As a result, they may not achieve the results they desire.
Some functional appliances are fixed. They are bonded directly to the teeth. This ensures that they will be worn for the requisite amount of time. But it can be less comfortable and is certainly less flexible.
Which type of appliance is best for your treatment depends on your treatment goals, your lifestyle, and your commitment to wearing the appliance.
Do Functional Orthodontics Replace Braces?
Not always. For many people, the reshaping of the jaw can create space for teeth that will move into the places made for them, partly under the influence of the functional orthotic. In other cases, you may still need braces or another orthodontic treatment to move your individual teeth into place.
We can’t always predict whether your treatment will be one that requires braces in addition to functional orthodontics or if you can do without braces.
If you would like to learn more about functional orthodontics in Harriman, please call (845) 783-6466 or email us today for an appointment at Harriman Family Dental. If appropriate, we may refer you to River Edge Dental for treatment.