By Dr. John White, owner of Braces by White
While it isn’t new technology (it was invented by German orthodontist Dr. Emil Herbst in 1909), the Herbst appliance is my go-to treatment for patients with bad overbites and recessive chins.
Used alone, or often in conjunction with braces, the appliance helps the lower jaw develop in a forward direction, which, over time, creates an ideal bite.
It consists of four crowns (two upper and two lower in the back of your mouth) with two shock-absorbing, piston-looking rods attached to them that postures the jaw into a forward position 24/7. Patients wear this anywhere from nine to 14 months depending how bad the overbite is.
With the Herbst appliance, patients don’t need to wear cumbersome head straps and headgear. Not only is it more comfortable, but because it is bonded onto the teeth it is not removable, so there are no problems with patient compliance.
In my practice, I use nearly a hundred of these appliances a year. The jaw adapts, the airway is better and the joint is not compromised.
We also use the Herbst appliance on patients who suffer from TMJ.
Just like braces, you have to avoid certain foods that are sticky, chewy and bulky during your treatment phase, but there are no other limitations.