The Herbst appliance is very effective in correcting large overbites due to small lower jaws in patients who are growing. The Herbst appliance is used to enhance the growth of the lower jaw in a forward direction, while at the same time applying pressure to the upper jaw in a backwards direction. Expansion or widening may also be achieved in the upper jaw if desired.

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At first, they may feel like a mouthful but within a week they will become quite comfortable. It may irritate the inside of your cheeks at first but soon the tissue will toughen up to the appliance and not be a problem. Please call us to report any prolonged cheek or tongue irritation.

You may notice some tenderness in the muscles of your check and jaw area. Treat the discomfort with over the counter pain reliever.

The inside of your mouth may be irritated by the herbst appliance until these areas have built up “calluses”. Use warm salt-water rinses twice a day for a few days to help condition your mouth to the herbst (one-teaspoon salt in a glass of warm water). It is not required, but probably best to sleep on your back. Pressure on the cheek can cause irritation. It may take 7-10 days to adjust to your appliance. Hang in there.


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). After 1-2 weeks, the Herbst should basically feel normal. This may not seem likely when you first receive the appliance, but time will do wonders to making this all normal again.

Cut food into small pieces and chew more carefully. Remember; in the first week let your knife and fork do most of the chewing for you! No sticky or hard foods such as gum, caramel and taffy, etc


How long will I wear the Herbst?


Normally, the Herbst Appliance is in for 9-12 months, but this time may vary between patients.


How do I get used to the Herbst appliance?


First, don’t play with it with your tongue or fingers. Secondly, don’t fight it! Let your jaw go wherethe Herbst lets it. Don’t try to force your jaw where it is difficult to do so. After 1-2 weeks, the Herbst should basically feel normal. This may not seem likely when you first receive the appliance, but time will do wonders to making this all normal again.


The most common way for the Herbst appliance to “break”, is for the screw to come loose on the upper right molar. If this happens, it may be too difficult for you to replace this at home. You have been provided with a small wrench. You may loosen the screw on the lower section and remove the Herbst arm. Then you can contact the office to schedule a time to have it reattached.

Depending on the design of the Herbst, it is also possible for it to come apart. If you open too wide, the little plunger attached to your lower jaw may slip out of the sleeve that is attached to your upper jaw. Should this happen, look in the mirror, open very wide, slip the little rods or plungers into the tubes or sleeves on the upper part and close normally.

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If the crown attached to the tooth is loose, then you should contact the office to have it recemented.


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