Traditional headgear used to be the only option for children whose upper jaws were too far ahead of their lower jaws. Today, children who need their jaws adjusted can use a Herbst appliance. For some children, it can reduce the need for surgery and tooth removal.
A Herbst appliance fits stainless steel caps over the back four molars in your mouth. The expander runs along your palate and on top, and it contains a looped wire. The lower portion has two metal bars parallel with the outside of your back teeth. A small metal bar that adds stability to the device runs alongside your lower teeth.
The arms of the top and bottom metal cylinders connect together, and the device gets attached to the mouth using orthodontic cement. The device generally stays in place for nine to 12 months.
The Herbst appliance creates several movements to correct the jaw:
- The expander makes more room for teeth in the upper jaw.
- The bottom jaw moves forward while the top jaw moves back.
- The teeth on top move back along with the jaw.
- The bottom teeth follow the jaw movement, also moving forward.
These movements work together based on the connection between the upper and lower appliances. The expander does a lot of the hard work, and keeping the arms in the correct place ensures that the teeth and jaw move together. Herbst appliances often correct V-shaped upper jaws by adjusting them to form a U shape.
If your child has an overbite, they may need a Herbst appliance. They can get braces, but often these devices won’t fix the problem sufficiently. Herbst appliances are designed to take care of this issue, and they help the jaw develop properly. Younger children can benefit from the Herbst appliance as their jaws continue to change. It may be the best answer for aligning their upper and lower jaws.
Treatment with a Herbst appliance usually takes up to a year, though it could take as little as nine months. The length of time varies based on the child’s jaw development and age. We can remove the Herbst appliance once it aligns your child’s jaw.
Caring for your overbite Herbst appliance is similar to maintaining any other orthodontic device. You need to employ strong dental hygiene habits to keep the device clean. Brush your teeth twice a day and use floss or an oral irrigator to get food bits out of the small nooks in the appliance. You want to avoid plaque buildup, which can cause bad breath and tooth decay.
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