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 pushing the upper jaw backward.
How Your Appliance Works
Each rod slides up and down within a tube. If the rod and tube come apart, open your mouth wide. Then guide the rod back into the tube as you close your mouth.
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 doctor 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 doctor will show you how to do it.
For Your Comfort
If the appliance makes your mouth tender, your doctor 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.
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 doctor, you can have a good bite and a great smile.