Types of Orthodontic Appliances for Treatment
To correct a bite problem where the upper teeth protrude over the lower teeth, an orthodontist may use devices called functional appliances, according to the BOS. These are special types of braces designed for adolescents who are still growing and may either be fixed in place or removable, depending on the patient's need. The appliances work to tip the upper teeth back and move the lower teeth forward.
The timeline for wearing these devices can vary greatly depending on the case, though the BOS notes that functional appliance treatment is usually completed within a year, on average. During this time, the appliance will be worn on a nearly full-time basis, and the patient will have regular visits with their orthodontist to assess their progress.
If the functional appliance has done its job, the orthodontist may then place traditional braces to straighten the teeth. If, however, the functional appliance doesn't correct the problem, the orthodontist may recommend headgear, extractions or jaw surgery — though surgery is typically reserved for patients over 17 years old, reports the BOS.
It's best to see an orthodontist as early as possible to determine the best course of action. Before moving forward with any treatment, check whether your health or dental insurance will cover the procedures needed for yourself or your child.