Straighten Up Orthodontics

functional appliances for teeth and jaw straighten up orthodontics md

How to Care for Your Functional Appliance

Your functional appliance plays an integral role in shaping and aligning your dental arch, bite, and jaw. Therefore, you should wear your functional appliance every day and take steps to keep it clean and operational.

Unless instructed by Dr. Wiltshire, your appliance should only be removed while:

  • Swimming
  • Playing a wind instrument
  • Playing a contact sports
  • Eating

You should also remove your functional appliance if the activity in which you are partaking may cause injury to yourself or your appliance.

Eating with a Functional Appliance

Depending on your treatment, it may be recommended for you to keep your functional appliance inserted while you eat. Talk to Dr. Wiltshire if you are unsure on the exact details of your treatment plan.


Your functional appliance uses pressure to move and reshape the teeth and bones in your month. Some discomfort is normal. Once your body adjusts to the treatment, most of the discomfort will go away (or significantly diminish). Orthodontic wax can be applied over wired portions to ease discomfort on your cheeks.

If your appliance starts to poke you or cause sharp pain, contact Dr. Wiltshire immediately. Do not try to alter, remove,  or adjust anything on your own.

Cleaning Your Appliance

Maintaining oral hygiene is especially important when undergoing treatment with a functional appliance. While your functional appliance is installed, there are more spaces for germs and bacteria to accumulate. Therefore, brush your teeth and clean your appliance after every meal. Use toothpastes made for sensitive teeth and use clear anti-bacterial soaps to clean your appliance (if removable). Once or twice per week, soak your appliance in a denture or orthodontic appliance cleaning solution to remove any buildup, bacteria, or odors.

Foods to Avoid

Like braces, there are certain foods that can damage your functional appliance and delay your treatment. Foods that should be avoided include:


  • Sugary foods: cakes, cookies, candy, rock candy, etc.
  • Acidic foods: Tomato, lemon, grapefruit, etc.
  • Sticky and chewy foods: taffy, licorice, gum, pretzels, bagels, etc.
  • Hard foods: apples, carrots (un-shredded), corn on the cob, hard breads, ice, etc.


There’s always chocolate! Chocolate dissolves quickly, making it an acceptable treat for those moments when you have an unrelenting craving for something sweet.

Have a Question About Your Functional Appliance?

Don’t be shy! When a question pops up about your functional appliance, simply call Straighten Up Orthodontics at 301-879-1607, or send us an email at straightenuportho@gmail.com.