The Herbst appliance is a non-removable orthodontic appliance that is used for the treatment of an overbite. This appliance, developed by Dr. Herbst, holds the lower jaw forward in a normal biting position by means of telescoping metal rods. The appliance creates a desirable facial change immediately and, even though the muscles of the face may appear tense at first, these muscles will soon relax.
Typically, the rods are worn 12-18 months with adjustments every six to eight weeks to accomplish the forward movement of the jaw. The last two months can actually create an underbite as the teeth may be over corrected in anticipation of some relapse when the rods are removed.
At first, the lips, cheeks and teeth may become sore. An over-the-counter pain reliever such as Tylenol, Aleve or Motrin will help to relieve this discomfort. Since the upper and lower teeth do not usually fit together for the first two to four weeks, a softer diet is recommended for the adjustment period. Wax may be placed over any part that is irritating the cheeks. Attempt to dry off the area thoroughly with tissue before applying the wax. If the wax does not stay on, consider trying some moldable silicone earplugs available at any drug store. The silicone can be used in place of wax and is much more resilient.
Please avoid hard, sweet and sticky foods. Brush your teeth and gums, the appliance and the areas around the appliance carefully and often. It is possible, in some cases, for the rods to disengage by opening the mouth too wide. This can be corrected by opening wide and reinserting the rods in the sheaths, which we have demonstrated to you.
We truly appreciate and understand the difficulty you might have adjusting to the Herbst appliance. Once you have become accustomed to the appliance, we feel that you will be very pleased with the rapid results. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to call.