A Herbst appliance is used to encourage your lower jaw to grow more quickly. Some Herbst appliances have an expander that can be used to widen your upper jaw at the same time. It takes one to two weeks to become accustomed to your Herbst appliance – so be patient.
At first, you may find that the Herbst may cause some irritation to your cheeks but this will generally disappear after a week or so.
In the meantime, use your orthodontic wax during the day as needed. If you have persistent irritation especially from the axles, you can use moistened cotton wool rolls at night to reduce the discomfort and prevent ulceration of your cheeks. Warm salt-water mouth rinses can also be useful to keep you comfortable if you develop an ulcer.
During the first few days of your treatment, the muscles in your jaw may feel a bit tender. It is caused by the new position of your lower jaw and generally lasts for only a few days.
Using your preferred pain reliever such as Panadol or Nurofen can help with this problem. A little perseverance is also required… just hang in there!
Tuning your expander
If your Herbst has an expansion device fitted to your upper teeth, you will need to remember to turn the screw once per day. We recommend turning the screw in the morning before school, and marking the day on your MOG calendar so that you can track your progress.
Keep turning the screw until all of the turns requested by your orthodontist have been completed and then STOP. If you miss a turn, simply pick up where you left off the next morning.
Care and diet
It is really important that you keep your Herbst appliance very clean.
Brush with a toothbrush after every meal. Food debris can be trapped quite easily under the appliance and should be promptly removed. If you can’t brush you should at least rinse your mouth vigorously with water after eating.
Please avoid sticky or hard foods such as chewing gum, toffee, nougat, caramel, and muesli bars as they can dislodge the appliance causing it to come loose.
Popped a piston?
Occasionally the pistons come apart. This is usually caused by opening your mouth really wide when yawning. All you have to do to reconnect the pistons is open wide enough like you did when you popped them out, and you should be able to replace the rod into the tube.
Sometimes you might need a bit of help from mum or dad to do this. If you can’t quite manage, contact us for an appointment, and we will help you put it back together.
If you think that there is a problem with your Herbst appliance, please contact us to make an appointment so that we can assist you.
Be sure that you keep your scheduled appointments so that we can supervise your progress and ensure that your treatment proceeds uneventfully.