Herbst Appliance


What is a Herbst Appliance?

The Herbst Appliance is very effective at correcting large overbites due to small lower jaws in patients that are growing. It is made of three parts:

  1. Rapid Maxillary Expansion (RME) in the palate to widen the upper jaw.
  2. Lower lingual holding arch in the lower jaw to hold teeth in place while movements occur.
  3. Arms which help move the jaws into the desired position.

What can I expect?

When you first get your appliance, there is an adjustment period.

  • At first, your mouth will feel unusually full and speaking will be awkward. Practice reading aloud to help your ordinary speech return quickly.
  • You may produce more saliva than normal, this is normal and will decrease as you become accustomed to your appliance.
  • When the lower jaw is brought forward, your teeth may not come together as they did prior to placement. After a week or so, upper & lower teeth will come together.
  • Chewing may be awkward at first - stick with softer foods for a few days. Sticky or hard foods should continue to be avoided when returning to your normal eating habits.
  • There may be some tenderness or soreness at first, this normally disappears after a few days - take Tylenol or Advil if needed.

How often do I turn the Herbst appliance?

The expander, which is placed in the palate, needs to be turned by you at home using the key we provide. The frequency of this expansion will be advised by Dr. Millar and Dr. Ponce.

Check out our Instagram 'Expanders' Highlights for a step-by-step guide to turning.

How do I get used to it?

  • Avoid playing with your appliance with your tongue or fingers.
  • Don't fight it! Let your jaw go where the Herbst lets it - don't try to force you jaw where it is difficult to go.
  • Cheeks and lips may feel irritated. Try a salt-water rinse to promote quick healing, and place wax over the screws to make them smoother.

How do I clean a Herbst Appliance?

  • Your Herbst appliance should be cleaned every morning and night - allow sufficient time to thoroughly clean both parts.
  • Use your toothbrush, toothpaste and cool water. 

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