Learn Orthodontics

Adjustment/Review of a Functional Appliance

Equipment Required

  1. Mouth mirror
  2. Stainless steel ruler (mm)
  3. Dividers
  4. Adams Universal Pliers
  5. Flat/Round Pliers
  6. Double action (Mauns) wire cutters
  7. Straight handpiece
  8. Acrylic bur

rem kit


"How are you getting on?"

"Any problems?"

If there are problems a gentle reminder is needed to the effect that if they are having problems they should come in rather than wait for their next routine appointment. If the appliance has been left out there is likely to have been a serious loss of movement achieved to date. At first visit after fitting check specifically that they are wearing the appliance to eat with (unless it is an MOA).


  1. Check oral hygiene.
  2. Check that the springs are in the correct places.
  3. Ask the patient to remove the appliance.
  4. Check for signs of wear
    • the outline of appliance on hard palate
    • indentations from crib arrowheads
    • signs of redness around palatal attached gingivae
    • tooth marks on the bite plane (if one is present)

If these are missing the patient is not wearing the appliance full time.


  1. The overjet with the teeth in occlusion (and appliance out) using the SS rule. RECORD THIS IN THE NOTES AT EACH VISIT.
  2. If measuring arch expansion - use dividers and 'stab' the points into the page, drawing samll circles around them and noting what points (eg MesioBuccal cusp tip of first molars) that you used for measurement points.

    You should see a decrease in overjet at the rate of 1mm/month. Otherwise the appliance may not be being worn.

  3. Tooth movement achieved - there ought to be 1mm + of canine retraction per month and 1mm+ of overjet reduction during incisor retraction.
  4. For example if retracting the canines measure the canine tip to molar groove on each side. Record this in the notes by stabbing the ends of the dividers into the page and draw small circles around them.


  1. Labial Bow

    (if required). In a functional appliance it should have minimal activation.
    • U Loop labial bow is adjusted by closing the U loop on both sides. It is important to ensure that the labial bow rests approx 13 up the labial face of the incisors.
    • Reverse loop labial bow is adjusted by opening the closed loop on both sides. It is important to ensure that the labial bow rests approx 13 up the labial face of the incisors.

    • Adams clasps are adjusted by turning in the arrow heads so they grip the undercut on the buccal surface of the tooth.

    • Make sure that there is no acrylic impeding the retraction of any tooth
    • Unless full overbite reduction have been achieved, check that the biteplane is still effective. That is the posterior teeth are separated by 2-3mm when the appliance is in place. If not add cold curing acrylic resin.


Show the patient how to activate the midline expansion screw. In functionals the expansion screw should be turned 14 turn, in the direction of the arrow once a week.


  1. Check that the patient is happy with the adjusted appliance.
  2. See the accompanying parent or guardian to inform them of progress.
  3. Arrange another appointment of 4-6 weeks time