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Braces

Interceptive functional appliance

02/19/2006

Question:

My daughter has an underbite and was told that she needs to get a interceptive functional appliance to help move her teeth forward. My question is this necessary to do at the age of seven? Can it wait a year or will it get worse if it doesn`t get corrected soon?

Answer:

If the orthodontist has determined that the skeletal condition is where the lower jaw is farther forward than the upper jaw, then an early functional appliance is indicated.  Research shows that bringing the upper teeth forward in a skeletal problem of this type should be done very early. This condition is sometimes called an under bite.

If, however,the lower jaw is back and the upper jaw is normal or slightly forward, then this condition is also sometimes called an under bite or deep bite. In this case the evidence for early treatment is less clear but should be timed with growth and development.

So it makes a great deal of difference as to which part of the upper or lower jaw is in which position. This is determined by a head x-ray, and you should ask your doctor the time frame he/she expects the functional appliance to work and how he/she will evaluate the progress.

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Response by:

Walter C Buchsieb, DDS, MS Walter C Buchsieb, DDS, MS
Professor Emeritus - Clinical, Associate of Dentistry
College of Dentistry
The Ohio State University