Correcting an overbite with the Herbst appliance

Herbst applianceWe’ve mentioned this before, but it bears repeating: orthodontic care helps your teeth and jaw function properly.  The cosmetic benefits are wonderful, but the benefits for your health are even better.  If you still aren’t sure about that, feel free to ask for a demonstration.  We can use models to show you the tremendous differences.

When the upper jaw extends beyond the lower jaw, the upper teeth can sit over the lower teeth, creating a condition commonly known as an overbite.  In many cases, the appearance issues are what motivate people to seek treatment for themselves or prompt parents to bring their children in for orthodontic care.  They dislike the appearance of the overbite and may grow frustrated with how it is affecting the shape of the jaw.  In many cases, the Herbst appliance is the perfect solution.

When treatment begins, the patients’ concerns are largely related to appearance.  They dislike the overbite and want perfectly-aligned teeth, instead.  By the end of the treatment, though, they are often so focused on the functional aspects that the appearance becomes secondary.  Their teeth feel more comfortable.  Their upper and lower jaws fit together properly.  As a result, they work more effectively.  This can mean that it’s easier to chew, smile, speak, and practice proper oral care.  That perfect smile is wonderful, but it’s secondary to how much better the teeth and jaws work and feel.

A little background on the Herbst appliance may be helpful.  First of all, an appliance is “any device, attached to the teeth or removable, designed to move the teeth, change the position of the jaw, or hold the teeth in their finished positions after braces are removed.”

How does it work?
When the upper teeth extend beyond the lower teeth, the cause may be a small lower jaw that doesn’t come out as far as it should.  If the lower jaw grows to meet the upper jaw, the condition will improve.  The Herbst appliance helps that growth process along.  Changing the position of the jaw affects more than the teeth.  It also affects the appearance of the jaw.  If you feel like your jaw looks too small in proportion to your face, you’ll be pleased with the results after the Herbst appliance.  It’s one of those positive benefits we talked about above; although it’s secondary to how your teeth and jaws work, you will appreciate it.

Many people ask how the appliance will feel.  You’ll be happy to know that the Herbst appliance is not painful.  Your mouth will feel a little different at first and you may want to give yourself time to adjust, especially when it comes to talking or eating.  These and other activities are not necessarily more difficult with the Herbst appliance, but they may initially feel different with it.  Once you get used to it, you’ll feel like yourself again.

As with any orthodontic care, you will need to visit the office for appointments so we can check your appliance and make sure it’s adjusted properly.  All the regular rules about foods to avoid still apply, so click here if you need a refresher course.

Again, we’re always happy to answer any questions you may have.  If you want to learn more about the Herbst appliance, please contact us.