If your child has an overbite, their orthodontist may have mentioned to you that they may need a Herbst appliance. While you’ve likely heard of many orthodontic devices on the market, you may be unfamiliar with this one. Before your child gets a Herbst appliance, there are likely several questions you have.
Your orthodontic care is important, and we want to ensure that you are prepared for whatever procedure or device comes next. Our Bailey Orthodontics team wants to help you through this process and has answers to whatever questions you may have.
Read on to learn more about what the Herbst appliance is and what to expect after its installation.
What Is A Herbst Appliance?
The Herbst appliance, also known as a functional orthodontic appliance, is used by orthodontists to slow down the development of the upper jaw while encouraging the lower jaw to move farther forward. Your orthodontist will recommend getting a Herbst appliance if your child has bite irregularities, including an overbite.
With a Herbst appliance and regular visits to your orthodontist, you don’t have to worry about your child struggling with rubber bands or wearing bulky, bothersome headgear. An added benefit to the Herbst appliance is that it is fixed in place, so there is no worry that it will be misplaced and treatment length will be prolonged.
How Does The Herbst Appliance Work?
The Herbst appliance is made of metal tubes and rods attached to the upper and lower molars. Once installed, it encourages the lower jaw to move forward while applying pressure against the upper jaw to slow its movement. While wearing a Herbst appliance, the jaw is guided into a more forward position each time your child bites.
Most often, the Herbst appliance is recommended for children between the ages of 9 and 14. This age range is optimal for the device because the jaw has not fully developed and is still easily manipulated into this forward position.
How Long Do You Wear The Herbst Appliance?
There are many factors that impact the length of time a Herbst appliance is worn, including the severity of their bite discrepancy and how the jaw reacts to the treatment. However, the general timeline with the Herbst appliance goes as follows:
- Initial Placement: Your orthodontist will assess the severity of bite irregularities and recommend the Herbst appliance. It is custom-made to fit the mouth and is then attached to their upper and lower molars.
- Regular Adjustments: Over the course of 9 to 12 months, your orthodontist will make regular adjustments to the Herbst appliance to continue encouraging the lower jaw to move into the appropriate position. This timeline is tentative and could be shorter if the jaw responds more quickly than expected or the bite discrepancy is not so severe.
- Transition To Braces: While your child may have worn braces during the process, they may also make the transition from their Herbst appliance to wearing braces to make further corrections to their bite.
It is important to remember that this timeline is not set in stone, and some factors may impact the length of treatment. Your orthodontist will regularly monitor progress to ensure everything is going as expected. As long as you regularly attend orthodontic appointments and get regular adjustments, you should expect to see results in the estimated timeline.
Will The Herbst Appliance Hurt?
Much like when your child gets braces for the first time, they may feel some mild discomfort immediately following the installation of the Herbst appliance. They will likely experience some soreness in their jaw as they get used to wearing the device. However, this pain should be easily managed with over-the-counter pain medication.
They may also notice irritation on the inside of their cheeks as the device rubs against the skin. This irritation should subside quickly as the skin thickens to handle this consistent friction. While waiting for the skin to toughen, your child may want to rinse their mouth with saltwater to soothe the irritation.
Your child may also struggle with sleep in the first few days after their Herbst appliance has been installed if they are a side sleeper. The device may press against their cheek in a way that is unfamiliar and uncomfortable to them. Sleeping on their back should relieve any discomfort, though you may need to experiment with pillow placement to make this easier.
Getting A Herbst Appliance With Bailey Orthodontics
At Bailey Orthodontics, we do all that we can to make the process of getting a Herbst appliance as easy as possible. With years of experience, our team is confident that we can make the experience of getting a Herbst appliance easy and simple. Our Farmington and Bountiful offices are ready to help you through this process and are available to answer any questions you have over the phone or in person.
Bailey Orthodontics has recently reopened its Farmington office and is ready to serve you in this new and improved space. No matter your orthodontic needs, our team is ready to help. If you have questions or would like to schedule an appointment with our team in Bountiful or Farmington, contact us today.