A Herbst appliance is used by orthodontists in correcting moderate to severe overbites that wearing rubber bands alone will not fix. They are extremely effective when used in a young patient who is not fully developed. A Herbst appliance is used to enhance the growth of the lower jaw in a forward direction, while at the same time applying pressure to the upper jaw in a backward direction. Expansion (widening) of the upper jaw may also be done if necessary.
What Age Is Ideal?
The AAO recommends all children see an orthodontist by age seven. As long as growth hasn’t stopped and the bones are not fully developed, a Herbst appliance can be an option.
How Is It Worn?
The Herbst appliance is cemented on the back teeth and is active 24 hours a day. It is generally worn for about six months to a year. A Herbst can be worn as a standalone appliance but is often used in conjunction with braces.
What Are The Benefits?
In most cases, the Herbst facilitates large overjet correction without having to extract teeth or have jaw surgery in the future. Taking a preventative approach while young and using the body’s natural growth process can reduce complications and even prevent the need for braces in the future.
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