How to Care for Your Functional Appliance

Caring for Functional Appliances 101

At Straighten Up Orthodontics, we use functional appliances to “train” or reshape the jaw. This is done for a number of reasons, with the most common being to correct a malocclusion or prevent teeth overcrowding. Caring for your functional appliance is crucial for efficient treatment.

How Often to Wear 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:

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:

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

Schedule a Free Orthodontic Consultation

Come meet the team and explore your orthodontic treatment options during a free, no-obligation consultation at our practice in Silver Spring, Maryland. To get started, simply call us at 301-879-1607, or reach us through our easy online contact form. You can also send us an email at straightenuportho@gmail.com.