Treatments > Herbst Appliance

A Herbst Appliance is used in growing patients to correct a discrepancy in the position of the top and bottom jaws. It is used to promote growth in the lower jaw.

The appliance prevents the lower jaw from moving backward, but still allows opening and closing. Upper and lower braces are sometimes used during Herbs treatment, however, the main goal is the correction of the jaw discrepancy.

The appliance is usually worn for 6 – 12 months, with close monitoring by Dr Coveney.

How is the Appliance Attached to the Mouth?
The Herbst appliance is attached to the first molar teeth by orthodontic crowns. Metal rods are then place on the sides, connecting the upper and lower jaws.

What Can I Expect When the Appliance is in Place?
It takes about a week to get used to the Herbst appliance. You may notice some tenderness to the teeth and muscles near the appliance, this is normal and you can take Panadol or any other over the counter pain relief as required. This tenderness will improve in a couple of days.

As the Herbst Appliance makes corrections to the jaw relationship, most patients will notice that the back teeth will not meet, making chewing difficult. This is normal and necessary for the progression of treatment. The teeth will gradually come together so that chewing becomes more normal after about a week.

You may feel awkward when speaking, may have a lisp or feel that there is extra saliva, but this will return to normal in a couple of days when your tongue and cheeks adjust to the appliance.

Some irritation around the rods and connections should be expected. The use of a warm salt water mouth wash, numbing gel such as Bonjela or orthodontic wax can help. Occasionally, patients can develop sore spots where the appliance rests against the soft tissues of the cheeks and lips, but patients adjust to this fairly quickly

To prevent damaging your appliance and teeth, you will need to avoid all sticky, chewy, hard and sugary foods.  We recommend a soft diet for the first few days. This will allow for a transition period while you adapt to the new chewing style. 
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