The Herbst appliance is very effective in correcting large overbites due to small lower jaws in patients that are growing*. Advancement of a lower jaw increases the airway volume, therefore preventing and/or improving symptoms of sleep apnea and snoring.
*The amount of growth modification obtainable depends on each individual’s growth potential and cannot be predicted.
How will it feel?
- At first, your mouth will feel unusually full and speaking will be awkward.
- If you practice reading aloud, your ordinary speech will return quickly.
- You may also notice more saliva than normal.
- This will decrease as you become accustomed to the appliance.
- It may irritate the inside of your cheeks and lips, but soon the tissue will toughen up to the appliance in a few days.
- Put Orabase or Brace Relief on the inside of the lip to relieve any irritation.
- Place wax over the screws to make them smoother.
- Use cotton rolls to place inside your cheeks to keep your lip and cheek away from the rods and tubes while you are sleeping.
- When the lower jaw is brought forward, your teeth may not come together as they did prior to placement the Herbst.
- Upper and lower teeth will come together in about a week or so, at which time you will be able to chew normally.
- Use warm salt water rinses two times a day for a few days to help condition your mouth to the Herbst (dissolve one teaspoon of salt in a glass of warm water).
- Brush thoroughly around all the crowns and especially under the lower bars.
- Avoid chewing very hard or tough foods, which can damage the Herbst and result in discomfort and emergency visits.
- Sometimes there is tenderness of the teeth when the Herbst appliance is placed, but this normally disappears in a few days. Medications you take for headaches are beneficial.
What about eating?
Chewing will be awkward at first. You may want to stay with softer foods for a day or two. But very soon you will be back to a normal diet (with the exception of sticky and brittle foods, of course).
How long will I wear them?
Normally, the Herbst Appliance is in for a minimum of 12 months.
What is the best way to get used to it?
First, don’t play with it with your tongue or fingers. Secondly, don’t fight it! Let your jaw go where the Herbst lets it. Don’t try to force your jaw where it is difficult to do so.
Can it come apart?
Yes. The most common way is for the screws to come undone or the metal crown to loosen. If this happens, call us (929) 552-3671. Save any parts you can.
Whenever something new is placed in the mouth, it takes time to adjust. Please be patient—you will become accustomed to the appliance surprisingly soon.