Functional Orthodontics

Functional Orthodontics in Auckland

We strive to reach and maintain oral and overall health and well-being. To do this, we provide our patients with the most modern and effective treatments available. The interconnectivity of the body continues to astound us and modern healthcare has brought new insight into how we do dentistry at Alpers. Facial-skeletal disharmony is associated with several medical problems. We combine technology and treatment to find the underlying cause of your malocclusion and provide treatment through functional orthodontics.

What is Functional Orthodontics?

This treatment uses removable plates to guide the jaws into a functioning bite and to make adequate room for all the adult teeth. They offer an alternative to the more traditional orthodontic techniques of removing adult teeth and jaw surgeries. By relieving poor jaw alignment or a narrow mouth, we can also remedy medical problems like migraine headaches, neck and shoulder pain, and temporo-mandibular (TMJ) disorders. These are not new treatments or new appliances. In fact, variations of functional orthodontic appliances have been used for over a hundred years but you can guarantee that modern techniques and materials have improved the appliances a lot since then! We have been using these functional orthodontic treatments at Alpers for over 25 years with excellent success.

Common Symptoms Treated by Functional Orthodontics:

  • Dizziness
  • Ringing in the ears
  • Hearing problems
  • Upper airway obstructions
  • Sleep apnoea
  • Mouth breathing
  • Popping or clicking of the joints

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Types of Appliances for Functional Orthodontics

At Alpers, we often use Biobloc and Twin Block removable functional appliances. In more severe cases, and depending on the patient’s age, we will sometimes use MARA fixed functional appliances. Below is a brief outline of each appliance.


This removable appliance is structured to help one learn to change the mouth posture. It is the most commonly used appliance in Orthotropics. The natural growth guidance this appliance provides helps the lower jaw fit into the right posture. Instead of the appliance holding the jaw in place, the muscles learn to do all of the work.

Twin Block

These are removable upper and lower appliances made to posture the lower jaw forward. This appliance is especially used to correct an underdeveloped lower jaw. They are designed for full-time wear and achieve rapid functional correction through the forces of occlusion and is most effective during a growth spurt. Assessing the timing of these treatments is key, which is why you need to bring your child in for an evaluation around the age of nine.
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Mandibular Anterior Repositioning Appliance (MARA)

This fixed appliance is suitable for treating class II malocclusions, or protrusions of the upper front or lower front teeth. Generally, this appliance is fixed to the patient’s first molars with stainless steel crowns. This means there is little left to patient compliance and Nic is better able to predict the length and outcome of treatment. Functional appliances are used to correctly align the jaws, but are not necessary for all of our patients. Generally, these treatments require six to twelve months to permanently change the alignment of your jaws. However, because many of the appliances we use are removable, patient compliance is a must. As long as patients wear their appliances as instructed, they can expect phenomenal results.
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Choosing Alpers for Functional Orthodontics

Nic is one of only three trained dentists in New Zealand qualified to provide orthotropic procedures through functional orthodontic appliances. This is a relatively new field and we have notice some very good results from using this treatment method. If you are worried about severe malocclusion, now is the time to call us at (09) 524-5056 and learn if functional orthodontics may be the right choice for you.

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Functional Orthodontics January 4, 2015