Benefits of Using a Herbst Appliance
Excessive space between the upper and lower front teeth, often called an “overjet”, is one of the most common orthodontic problems seen in adolescent patients. So, what's the difference between overjet and overbite? Well, overjet is how far the teeth protrude forward and overbite is how deep the bite is.
Although it may appear to be a problem with the position of the teeth, it is most often a problem with the position of the upper and lower jaws.
It’s very common that an excessive overbite is due to a lower jaw that is smaller and positioned further back relative to the upper jaw. In order to correct this discrepancy, a herbst appliance is typically the treatment of choice for efficient, predictable correction. This appliance, which is used in conjunction with traditional braces, consists of right and left arms that connect to and join crowns cemented on the upper and lower molars. Because the herbst appliance is cemented to the teeth, it works 24 hours per day - unlike traditional headgear or other compliance-dependent methods of treatment.
The purpose of the herbst appliance is to hold the lower jaw in a more favorable forward position during its natural growth, which occurs on average around age 10 for females and age 12 for males. By synchronizing treatment with the patients’ growth, the herbst appliance gives us the ability to re-direct and harness the patient’s own natural growth in order to eliminate the overbite. Failing to address this issue during the pubertal growth stage will most often leave the patient with excessive overbite, even after full growth of the lower jaw has occurred. In this situation, treatment options are more limited, and the extraction of permanent teeth or even surgery may be necessary to correct the overbite.
At Orthodontic Arts we treat every patient as an individual. During an initial consultation appointment our office gathers records which include photos, a digital scan and a panoramic x-ray. With this technology, Dr. Birdwell and Dr. Wilson are able to determine if a herbst appliance is the best treatment approach. Below is an example of a patient that was treated with a herbst appliance. The outcome can be amazing! As always, we’re here to answer any questions you have about orthodontic treatment and look forward to helping you achieve a beautiful smile.