Lets start with the elephant in the room….why is it called a Herbst appliance?
It was named after Emil Herbst who invented it in 1904! Thankfully the current Herbst appliances have undergone several updates to make it more patient-friendly, and it is back in favour for correcting instances where the upper jaw and teeth protrude too far beyond the lower, usually due to a small lower jaw that sits too far back.
Fitting a Herbst appliance will encourage the lower jaw to catch up in growth, and over time the change becomes permanent. It is completely contained in your mouth, attached by stainless steel ‘crowns’ to your 4 back teeth. Metal rods are then placed on the sides, connecting the upper and lower jaws. These slowly align the jaw to a more forward position, whilst still allowing regular movement and functioning – such as eating and talking (although my son did request to have his sister’s Herbst fitted with a remote to restrict her talking…hmmmm!)
Challenges? Some initial irritation around the rods and connections – salt water wash, numbing gel and orthodontic wax can help with this. Awkward when talking – your mouth may feel full initially, but this will return to normal in about a week, as your tongue and cheeks adjust to the appliance. Popped piston – this can occur if you have opened your mouth too wide, it is easy to pop back in by opening wide again and manually sliding the rod back into the tube. More saliva than usual – again this will return to normal as your mouth adjusts to having it fitted.
Our advice? Whilst it looks a strange setup, many many people have gone before you, and all have managed quite well. We promise you will get used to it, just give it a bit of time.