The Herbst appliance is an orthodontic device that is cemented in place and uses the top jaw to push the bottom jaw forward. This device is used to correct a bite by moving the lower jaw forward. The Herbst appliance is our choice because it is effective, it is cemented in place (so it cannot be forgotten to be worn), and it is less visible and bulky than other options.
When will the Herbst be used?
Ideally, the Herbst appliance is used while your child is still growing. If the jaw is corrected early on using the Herbst appliance, it can prevent them from needing jaw advancement surgery in the future. Correcting the jaw will help your child have a proper bite, improved airway, and an improved appearance of the facial profile.
How will the Herbst feel?
When the Herbst appliance is first put in, it may feel bulky and awkward and it may irritate the inside of your cheek. It will also change the bite, so chewing and biting down will be different. However, the patient will become accustomed to the device within 1-2 weeks and any discomfort should ease. The inside cheek tissue will toughen up so that the Herbst appliance no longer irritates it.
Also, while it is natural for your child to be curious about the new device in their mouth, it is important that they refrain from messing with it using their fingers, tongues, or anything else. Constantly touching and moving the Herbst appliance could cause it to come loose or be broken.
What can you eat with the Herbst?
Your child may complain at first that they cannot eat after they get the Herbst appliance in their mouth, but they will soon learn to adapt and develop a new way to eat. It is a good idea to eat soft foods for the first few days after getting the Herbst. This helps your child figure out a new way to chew and helps reduce any frustration they may feel if they have difficulties eating foods that require more chewing. After the first few weeks with the Herbst appliance, your child should be able to eat a normal orthodontic diet. Sticky, crunchy, gooey foods should be avoided entirely.
How long do you wear the Herbst?
The Herbst appliance is typically worn for about 12 months. A full year is needed for the appliance to be able to affect the growth and alignment of the jaw. The Herbst appliance works over time as your child grows and since it is adjusted in mild increments, the changes in the jaw occur slowly.