Atlanta Orthodontic Specialists Treatments


Herbst therapy for bite discrepancies

Herbst Appliance

If your child has an overbite, we may recommend that they wear a Herbst Appliance. The Herbst Appliance can help correct an overbite by helping the lower jaw grow in a forward direction, while at the same time pushing the upper jaw slightly back.

The Herbst Appliance is cemented to the permanent first molars, so you don’t have to worry about it coming out or getting lost. It works 24/7 with no extra effort from your child (minus a little extra cleaning) and helps to give your child a an attractive jawline along with a healthy bite.

How does a Herbst Appliance work?

As your child wears the appliance, it gently encourages the child’s upper and lower jaws to grow together. The Herbst Appliance puts an upward-and-back force on the upper jaw and puts a forward force on the lower jaw, slowly correcting an overbite by bringing the upper and lower jaws together.

At each appointment, your orthodontist will check the progress and may add “shims” to the Herbst Appliance to add more pressure to move the jaws, much in the same way that bands are changed in traditional braces.

If your child’s jaw needs to be widened, an expansion mechanism can be added to the Herbst Appliance, as well.

How long will my child wear a Herbst Appliance?

The Herbst Appliance is usually worn for about 12 months, but patients start seeing positive results long before that. Patients with severe overbites may need to wear the appliance for a longer amount of time.

How is a Herbst Appliance is constructed?

Each appliance is fabricated from surgical-grade stainless steel. Two frameworks are attached to your child’s first permanent molars. The frameworks are connected by two telescoping rods, one on each side of the mouth, which connect the upper appliance to the lower one.

Will wearing a Herbst Appliance change my face?

Wearing a Herbst Appliance will change the shape of your child’s face in a way that’s generally appealing to our modern standards of attractiveness. The goal of wearing a Herbst Appliance is to move the lower jaw slightly forward and the upper jaw slightly back. This results in a more sculpted jawline.

Does wearing a Herbst Appliance hurt?

When the appliance is first installed, it may feel like quite a mouthful! But that feeling should subside quickly as the patient gets used to feeling the appliance in the mouth. A Herbst Appliance should never cause pain, but it may cause some tension or tenderness in the muscles of the jaw. If necessary, OTC pain relievers can be taken to increase comfort.

The insides of the cheeks where the appliance touches may become irritated at first while the tissue is getting used to the appliance. It won’t take long though before the soft tissue inside the cheeks becomes accustomed to the appliance. If the inner tissues of the cheeks become irritated, a saltwater rinse can help them feel better.

If sleeping on the side causes pain or irritation in the the cheeks from the pressure of a pillow, try back sleeping. Experimenting with pillows under the knees and around the body can help people who are not natural back sleepers.