Functional braces
For growing people with protruding teeth

What is a functional brace?

A functional brace or functional appliance is a type of brace that an orthodontist uses to help correct the way the teeth meet. They are most commonly used where the lower jaw (mandible) is set back too far.

Will a functional brace change the shape of the face?

There have been lots of discussions about how functional braces work. Some orthodontists/dentists think that they make the jaws grow larger but research has shown that it is more likely that they work by tipping teeth into the right place.

At what age should they be used?

They have been shown to work best when children are growing the fastest. On average, in girls this is at 10-13 years of age and is at 11-14 years in boys. However, this varies between people and your orthodontist will assess when it is best for treatment to be carried out.

How long do you need to wear a functional brace worn?

Functional braces normally need to be worn for 9 to 12 months. Your orthodontist will give you advice on this.

Can functional braces be worn by younger children (less than 10 years)?

Functional braces can be worn by younger children, but it means that children have to wear braces for a much longer period of time overall. However, in younger children who have a lower jaw which is set back, prominent upper front teeth and are being teased or bullied at school, functional braces may help. In this is happening, an orthodontist may suggest using a functional brace earlier.

Are functional braces removable or fixed to the teeth?

Functional braces may be either removable or fixed to the teeth. In the United Kingdom the most commonly used functional brace is called a Twin Block appliance. The Twin Block is made from separate upper and lower parts, which interlock to move the lower jaw into a more forward position. Patients commonly need a fixed brace afterwards to get the teeth straight.

Functional braces that are fixed to the teeth are sometimes used, often at the same time as fixed braces. Some studies have shown that ‘fixed functional’ braces break more often than removable ones. Your orthodontist will help you to choose the type of functional brace that is most suitable for you.

Does treatment with a functional brace always work?

Functional braces have a high chance of success if treatment starts at the right time and the patients wears the brace well, however they do not always work. You normally need to wear them all of the time and if you do not wear them long enough each day that might mean they do not work. If this happens you and your orthodontist should talk about other treatment