It is estimated that 15-20% of the U.S. population is affected by a condition known as a class 2 malocclusion(also known as a 'deep bite' or an 'overbite'.). So, what is a deep bite? Simply put, this is a condition where bite is misaligned between the upper teeth and lower, where the upper teeth end up overlapping. The prevalence of this condition and the need for a solution for class 2 malocclusions is why the Herbst appliance was developed. Let's discuss a bit of its history.
The origins of the Herbst device
The Herbst appliance has been around for some time now. Introduced in 1909 by a German orthodontist as a corrective measure for class 2 malocclusions, the original Herbst appliance was a bit restrictive on things such as lateral movement of the jaw, some forms of chewing, and on the speech. While there were a number of variations it wouldn't be until the mid 1970's when the device would see a resurgence in use due to the work of another doctor, Hans Pancherez.
Who was Hans Pancherez? .
Dr. Pancherez was another orthodontist who re-introduced te world to the Herbts appliance with a few design modifications of his own. His design was less bulky and anchored directly to the teeth so that full anchorage could be achieved and better control of the growth of the jaw could be maintained. This design caught on and many modifications would come later, leading to the current form of the device that is still helping people today, which is sometimes known as Herbtz braces as well..
Why would I want my child to wear Herbtz braces?
In cases of class 2 malocclusion it is best to start treatment as early as possible. Between the ages of 9 and 14 children are experiencing the swiftest level of growth and by utilizing a Herbtz appliance you can maximize its correctional capabilities.
Herbtz appliance pain - Is this going to hurt?
There may be a little pain for your child initially but as they grow used to the appliance then this will fade. Initial pain is considered minimal and can be easily dealt with through over-the-counter medications. The orthodontist will provide dietary recommendations for the time in which the child is getting used to the device and once they become used to it then diet is not so much of a concern, with the exception of extremely hard foods and sticky foods that can get stuck to the device.
Does the child have to wear it forever? How do you take care of it?
The Herbtz orthodontic appliance is typically utilized for a period of about 12 months. Improvements are generally seen long before this, however, this is the recommended period. During this time very little maintenance is required beyond a daily fluoride rinse and the standard brushing to maintain proper oral hygiene. There are adjustments that will be made to the device, typically every 3 months, where measurements of the jaw are taken and the device will receive some repositioning in order to shape the growth of the jaw. These adjustments will stop once the changes appear to be nominal for promoting healthy growth of the jaw. Employing tubing for the adjustments, in a way it is just like the tightening of braces, and your child should adjust to the changes within a few days.
“One year and a lifetime of smiles!”
Herbtz appliance: before and after
Once the Hertbz appliance has reached the end of the 12 months it is removed by the Orthodontist. At this point they will evaluate the efficacy of the jaw correction and may prescribe further(and likely lessdramatic) treatment for moving on. While a year might seem a long time, keep in mind that the corrections last for a lifetime. That's really just a drop in the bucket when compared to a healthy, happy smile.
Advantages of the Herbtz appliance
- Non-surgical treatment - The Herbtz appliance is an excellent and safe alternative to invasive jaw surgery. Surgery can be quite effective but why go to that length during a child's growth years when there is a tried and true method already available?
- The effects are permanent - As you are manipulating the growth of the jaw through these formative years, the effects will be permanent. In many cases, no further treatment is required at all.
- Improved facial profile - Have you noticed someone with a strong jawline? This is a feature that society finds attractive and this device cultivates a strong and improved jaw alignment, increasing the symmetrical features of the face.
- Short duration of treatment - 12 months may seem like a long time but in reality it is really a very short period. With a lifetime of benefit to gain, it is a relatively little time to sacrifice in the scope of things.
- Ensured compliance in treatment - Getting the kids to listen to their orthodontist or dentist can be a gamble at best. With this solution, you don't have to monitor the child's dental habits 24 hours a day, but just simply ensure that their diet is what the orthodontist has recommended to avoid complications.
- Easy to adjust to -.Once your child has the Herbtz device in place it takes very little time to adjust to. With the exception of the first few days, your child should be eating normally and their speech should be adjusting. While the former comes naturally, you might want to have your child read aloud every evening the first week as practice for getting used to the device. Expect much the same adjustment period as one would with braces.
Now that we have given you the facts you should consider speaking with your orthodontist if your child is experiencing overbite issues. On the internet you can also find a number of Herbst appliance reviews detailing a little more about form and function as well as personal experiences with this device. One year and a lifetime of smiles! Not a bad trade!