Specialist in Orthodontics for Children, Teens, and Adults

Herbst Jaw Growth Appliance

Aside from the obvious benefits of orthodontic treatment, like increased confidence and ease of hygiene, another benefit is not so obvious: improved jaw function. If your child has an overbite, simple treatment with braces will not correct the problem. The Herbst appliance, usually in conjunction with braces, is used to help the lower jaw develop in a forward direction. This eventually leads to an ideal bite. Left untreated, an improper bite may threaten the long-term health of your child's teeth, gums, and jaw.

A Herbst appliance is fixed to your child's molars. It includes a metal tube that connects the upper and lower jaw. By adjusting the tube, your orthodontist is able to control the jaw's position in relation to the upper teeth. Typical treatment time with a Herbst appliance is 12 months, though this may vary depending on your child's unique needs.

Herbst vs. Headgear

Compliance

The main difference between a Herbst appliance and headgear is that the Herbst appliance is securely fastened to your child's teeth, while headgear is removable. To be truly effective, headgear must be worn between 12 and 16 hours per day, which often poses a problem with patients who don't like to keep it on that long. Since the Herbst appliance is not removable, you won't need to keep track of how many hours per day your child wears it.

Aesthetic

Another difference is aesthetics. Headgear is bulky, made of metal hooks or a facebow, and straps or a head cap to anchor the headgear to the back of the head or neck. A Herbst appliance is a much more discreet option: it may be visible when your child laughs or speaks, but it is far less obtrusive than headgear.

Adjusting to a Herbst Appliance

Muscle Tenderness – When your child first gets his or her Herbst appliance, there may be some overall muscle tenderness and soreness of the teeth. As your child's mouth adapts to the appliance, the soreness should fade.

Tissue Irritation – Because the Herbst appliance is metal, it may cause some slight tissue irritation, especially on the lower gums. It will take time for your child's mouth to adapt. Until it does, dental wax can help to ease the irritation.

Diet – Eating softer food will help with any muscle soreness, especially after the first week or two after getting the appliance. It is also important to eliminate sticky foods, like candy and gum, or hard, crunchy food, which can damage the appliance and lengthen treatment time.

What Our Patients Are Saying

"Dr. Hildebrand and his entire staff are absolutely wonderful. They are all very patient and caring. Dr. Hildebrand is awesome at making the kids feel comfortable and at ease. I feel that his treatment plans are always very well explained and very affordable in price. I have recommended many of our friends and they too love his practice. I wouldn't go to anyone else."

— Kelly N.

"I really appreciate how friendly, positive, and kind everyone in the office is. Dr. Hildebrand and his staff took care of my kids very well, and I loved them so much I came back for me! They are always willing to take the time to explain anything, from the treatment to the financial side of things, which I greatly appreciate."

— Daniele

"This practice is a wonderful place, especially for teens/children. You can tell they go the extra mile to focus on young adults and in doing so help them to feel more at ease. My 14-year-old daughter (who does not enjoy dentist appointments) actually likes the atmosphere here and isn't nervous at all. Dr. Hildebrand and his staff just seem to have a way with their patients.."

— Kayleigh V.

"Everyone at the office is super cool. They're all so kind on the phone and in person. When I come in, it's like I'm their best friend that's been out of town for a while and they welcome me back! The service provided by Penny, Missy, and the others is awesome!!! They're always very personable and professional. Dr. H has a wonderful team, and they show it every visit!"

—Apolonio R.