A Herbst appliance helps line up your top and bottom jaws. This helps improve the way your teeth fit together (your bite). The Herbst appliance moves the lower jaw forward while putting backward pressure on the upper jaw. It attaches to the back molars on both sides of the upper and lower jaws. It is often used a long with braces.
How your appliance works
It’s important to know how your appliance works. Start by learning the parts that make up your Herbst appliance. This will help you talk to your healthcare provider about any problems you may have with it.
What you can expect
Your Herbst appliance may take a few weeks to get used to. Your upper and lower teeth may not touch when you close your mouth. And your teeth or muscles in your jaws and cheek may feel tender. So, it may be hard for you to eat at first. But these problems will likely go away soon. Also, the rods and tubes in your appliance may come apart if you open your mouth too wide. If this happens, they can be reconnected. Your healthcare provider will show you how to do it.
For your comfort
If the appliance makes your mouth tender, your healthcare provider may suggest medicine to relieve the soreness. The appliance may rub against your cheeks or tongue. If this happens, roll a small piece of dental wax into a ball. Then press it against your appliance at the sore spots. If you get a small cut in your mouth, rinse it with a mixture of 1 teaspoon of salt and 1 cup of warm water. Don’t swallow the salty water.
When to call your healthcare provider
Contact your healthcare provider if:
The appliance comes apart and you can’t put it back together.
The appliance breaks or a screw comes loose. Always save any parts that break or come loose.
Foods to avoid
Eating certain foods can break your appliance or pull it apart. Stay away from sticky, chewy, crunchy, or hard foods, such as candy, gum, ice, and popcorn. Slice raw carrots and apples into thin pieces.
Brushing and flossing
When wearing your appliance, you may find it harder to brush and floss your teeth. But make a special effort to keep your teeth clean. Carry a toothbrush and toothpaste with you. This way, you can brush your teeth after every meal or snack.
A better bite
When your jaws and teeth line up right, you’ll have a better bite. And you’ll look better, too. By working with your healthcare provider, you can have a good bite and a great smile.