The Herbst appliance is used to correct a severe overbite without the use of Headgear or extraction of teeth. In most cases the appliance can even prevent the need for jaw surgery.
At first, your mouth will feel unusually full and speaking will be awkward. But if you practice reading aloud, your ordinary speech will return quickly. You may also notice more saliva than normal, but this will decrease as you become accustomed to the appliance.
Even though the Herbst appliance prevents the lower jaw from moving backward, opening and closing movement still occur easily and patients do not have any problems learning to chew their food with their lower jaw in this new position.
As with all kinds of braces, patients with Herbst appliances need to be careful about what they eat. For instance, cold foods such as ice slushes, popsicles, and ice may freeze the cement and loosen the appliance. Sticky foods such as caramels, bubble gum, and hard candy may also loosen the appliance. Best to stay away from these foods during your orthodontic treatment.
Your Herbst appliance will be checked and adjusted at your appointments. If sometimes between appointments you develop some sore areas on the inside of your cheeks, please do not try to adjust the appliance yourself. Call for an appointment so that the necessary adjustments can be made.
One of the most common problems orthodontics treat is the discrepancy that occurs when the upper teeth protrude beyond the lower. Ordinarily when we see a patient with the upper teeth protruding, we tend to think that the upper jaw and teeth are too far forward; but, more often than not, this condition is due to a small lower jaw that is further back than it should be. With these patients, we would like to encourage the lower jaw to catch up in growth, and the Herbst appliance helps this happen.