Frankel Appliance for Bite Correction. In What Cases Is It Used?


Orthodontic bite correction and occlusion alignment in children using the Frankel appliance is trending treatment method in modern orthodontic practice. Its use reduces the risk of developing more serious problems, improves the appearance of the smile, and also provides psychological comfort and the prevention of problems with diction and biting. Frankel appliance orthodontics is installed at the age of 4 – 11 years. It is very important to interest the child in the bright, attractive design of the device, and not be frightened by the need to carry a bulky and scary thing in your mouth. Today, models of Frankel braces look more like colorful candies than an orthodontic structure.

What Is Frankel Appliance?

The orthodontic appliance for eliminating serious bite pathologies, developed by Frankel, is unique. It is aimed at correcting deficiencies in the development of the dentition and reduces pressure on the soft tissues of the lips and cheeks, and also promotes the correct position of the tongue. Unlike most similar structures, the Frankel orthodontic appliance puts virtually no physical pressure on the rows of teeth but simply promotes their natural development.

Frankel appliance ortho is intended for correcting the bites in children during the eruption of permanent teeth. This is put on both jaws at once, fixing them in the desired position and worn for 2-3 hours during the day, as well as all night. It is worth understanding that a child cannot eat or talk with a Frankel appliance in his mouth.

To create an anatomical frame, high-strength medical wire with a diameter of up to 1 mm is used. This wire is formed in the form of three special arches: palatal, lingual and vestibular. The arcs are connected to the plates, their ends are fixed in the middle of the shields during the manufacturing process. To fix the canines and incisors to apply constant pressure and restrain the growth of the jaw, special loops are used. Pelotes and shields can be made of plastic (most often) or metal. They have an oval shape and minimize traumatic effects. The width of the parts depends on the degree of the anomaly but does not exceed 2.5 mm. All structural elements are polished so that the risk of damage to dental and periodontal tissue is minimal.

Types of Frankel Appliance

There are several Frankel appliance types designed to solve various problems. This affects how the metal structure affects the fabrics. Four types of devices correspond to four ways of installing parts and fasteners, which in turn affects the results of treatment:

  1. The first type of of appliance addresses the issue of distal bite, characterized by the forward tilting of incisors. The Frankel retainer facilitates dental expansion, creating room for the correct growth of front teeth. Variations in design distinguish models within this category, albeit with minor differences.
  2. The second type is used to correct the posterior bite in combination with the posterior movement of the upper incisors. It differs from the first type in the presence of a palatal arch for moving the upper front teeth and a different shape of loops on the fangs. Usually made of transparent plastic.
  3. Frankel 3 orthodontic appliance is designed for progeny – a bite when the teeth below overlap the teeth above when the mouth is closed. This model prevents the impact of soft tissue on the formation of the upper jaw. Unlike other retainers, the Frankel 3 appliance has labial pads, occlusal guards and a vestibular arch for the anterior incisors.
  4. The fourth type is used in open bites when there is gap amid the teeth of the upper and lower jaws when the mouth is completely closed. It includes the vestibular arch on the upper teeth and pelota on the lower lip, which inhibit the growth of the lower jaw. Metal pads on the sides enhance the healing effect, restoring normal breathing and speech.

Each type of Frankel functional appliance is characterized by its design features, including the number and location of arches, labial pads and buccal shields. The selection of a particular kind is contingent upon the outcomes of the patient's evaluation, diagnostic tests, and the detected medical condition.

In What Cases Is Frankel Orthodontic Appliance Used?

Correction is prescribed for cases where significant anomalies of occlusion are observed in children, most often between the ages of 4 and 7 years, when the process of replacing baby teeth with permanent ones begins. The basic operating principle of the Frankel orthodontic device is to regulate the tone of the muscles of the cheeks and lips, and effectiveness is achieved by relaxing the muscles in problem areas:

  • correction of various types of malocclusions;
  • teeth straightening;
  • preparation for further orthodontic treatment;
  • preventing the progression of deformities;
  • improvement of chewing and speaking functions.

During the treatment process, it is necessary to change the design 2-3 times, since the child’s jaw system is in the growth stage, and this may affect the effectiveness of the correction. However, the first results can be seen after 3-4 months.

Typically, the Frankel dental appliance is used in the initial stage of treatment and later replaced with braces. The average time of use is from 1 to 1.5 years, but this depends on individual characteristics and the degree of the defect. An important role is also played by the time that the child spends with the device during the day, and how much he follows the NYC dentist’s recommendations.

Article Approved by:

Reena Clarkson Orthodontist, DDS