A straight smile begins with an aligned jaw, and that’s where the Herbst appliance comes in! A Herbst appliance is a stainless-steel orthodontic appliance that is applied to the molars, connecting the upper and lower jaw with a metal tube. The Herbst appliance is a functional appliance, as it allows your jaw to move naturally, and helps growing mouths develop strong, healthy smiles.
How Does the Herbst Appliance Work?
The Herbst appliance is connected to your teeth at four points of contact through fixed bands on your upper back molars and lower back molars. You’ll also have a metal tube that connects the upper and lower molars on each side.
Treatment time for the Herbst appliance typically takes about 12 months. While it is likely you won’t have the appliance during your entire treatment period, these 12 months play a huge role in the outcome of your smile.
Your orthodontist at Coastal Family Orthodontics will adjust your Herbst appliance at each appointment. Your appliance is working at all times! These adjustments are what make the appliance slowly and gently align your jaw throughout your treatment time so your end result is a straight, healthy smile.
Does the Herbst Appliance Hurt?
Following an orthodontic adjustment on your Herbst appliance, you may feel mild pain or discomfort for a few days. Don’t worry, this is totally normal! This pain should subside within 2 to 3 days. To alleviate any pain or discomfort, take an appropriate dose of an over-the-counter pain reliever like ibuprofen or acetaminophen. If you are experiencing severe pain, or your pain doesn’t subside after a few days, contact your orthodontist.
How Do You Clean Your Herbst Appliance?
Just like with other orthodontic appliances, it is important to keep your Herbst appliance clean in order to maintain optimal oral health. While a Herbst appliance may pose a greater challenge when brushing your teeth, it is important to brush it often, especially after eating. We recommend taking a toothbrush and toothpaste with you when you’re on the go, so you can brush after meals or snacking.
In addition, avoid sticky, crunchy snacks, like candy and gum, that can get stuck or pull on your Herbst appliance. These foods can cause food particles and sugar to find hiding places to settle into and cause tooth decay.
Talk to your orthodontist about other options to improve your dental care routine while wearing a Herbst appliance, such as fluoridated mouthwash or a water flosser. Your orthodontist may also have other recommendations for tools to ensure you’re keeping your Herbst appliance clean.