Atlanta Orthodontic Specialists Treatments


Herbst Appliance treatment for overbite

Herbst Appliance

A Herbst appliance is an orthodontic device that helps align the upper and lower jaws, correcting bite discrepancies such as an overbite. If your child is suffering from an overbite, this functional appliance works 24 hours a day to adjust jaw growth.

How does a Herbst Appliance work?

A Herbst appliance works by putting forward pressure on the lower jaw while simultaneously pulling the upper jaw gently backward, slowly bringing both the upper teeth and bottom jaw into alignment. Not only does this appliance align the teeth for a more beautiful smile, but it also helps to create a more attractive jawline, too.

The appliance is permanently adhered to your child’s molars for the duration of their treatment, so there’s no need to worry that they will forget their appliance on a school lunch tray or lose it at a friend’s house.

Each time your child comes in for an orthodontic visit, we’ll check their progress and may add “shims” to the appliance to adjust the direction of their jaw growth. We can also widen your child’s jaw with a Herbst appliance using a specially made expansion mechanism if needed.

How long does treatment with a Herbst appliance last?

Most patients wear their Herbst appliances for about a year, but positive results are seen much earlier than the 12-month mark. For patients with severe overbites, the appliance may need to be worn longer.

What does a Herbst appliance look like?

Made from surgical-grade stainless steel, this functional appliance is made up of two frameworks that attach to the back molars, and two telescoping rods that connect the upper and lower frameworks.

Will a Herbst appliance change the shape of my child’s face?

Wearing a Herbst appliance will change the shape of your child’s face in a positive way. By pulling the upper jaw backward and pushing the lower jaw forward, this creates a more defined jawline and stronger chin, both considered highly attractive in both boys and girls.

Does it hurt to wear a Herbst appliance?

Though wearing a Herbst appliance does not cause pain, it can initially lead to some soreness in the jaw as the upper and lower jaws get used to wearing the functional appliance. If your child is experiencing any discomfort, taking OTC pain relievers should be all they need to feel better.

The appliance may rub against the insides of the cheeks, causing some irritation when the appliance is first installed. The body is smart, however, and the rubbed spots will quickly toughen up just enough to tolerate wearing the appliance without pain. Rinsing the mouth with saltwater can help with the irritation until the cheeks become accustomed to wearing the appliance.

Patients who are side sleepers may find that the appliance presses into the inside of their cheeks at night, causing discomfort. In this case, we recommend back sleeping if possible. If back sleeping doesn’t come naturally, try experimenting with different pillow combinations both under the head and around the body to support the back-sleeping position through the night.

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