Congratulations, you are on your way to correcting your teeth and facial features using one of the most modern and innovative appliances in orthodontics!
As you remember from meeting with Dr. Trindade, the Herbst appliance corrects a bite problem when the upper jaw and teeth are forward and/or the lower jaw and teeth are too far back. The Herbst appliance works efficiently and without your help. You don’t have to remember to put it on like headgear or elastics and it works all the time, even when you are asleep.
The Herbst appliance works by positioning your lower jaw forward giving gently forward pressures on the teeth, bone, and muscles of the lower jaw. At the same time, the appliance puts gentle backward pressures on teeth and bone of the upper jaw. The lower-jaw muscles will tend to position your lower jaw just slightly forward of where the Herbst holds it. This allows the lower jaw muscles to promote forward growth of the lower jaw to help in the correction. Since the Herbst is working with your growth cycle, it needs to be worn for 9-12 months as growth is normally a slow gradual process.
As with braces, the Herbst should be handled carefully during eating to avoid breakage. Please avoid hard, sticky, or chewy foods. The possibility of the appliance loosening is rare. Please don’t play with the appliance.
COMMON EXPERIENCES FOR THE PATIENT
1. You may have trouble chewing for the first 7-12 days. You will quickly adapt over time. Start with a softer diet like pasta, soup, scrambled eggs, and ice cream!
2. You may experience cheek irritation. Please use orthodontic wax and warm saltwater rinses and cotton rolls at night. The cheeks will adjust to the feeling of the appliance.
3. Appliance rocks and the arms disengage: This may happen if you open extra wide like yawning. Give us a call so we can put them back together.
4. You may notice that your face or cheeks look puffy. Some patients have thinner cheek skin than others making the appliance more noticeable in the beginning. This will gradually diminish as your bite correction occurs.
5. If a screw becomes disengaged you can simply reengage it using your Herbst Allen key we provided. You can also call the office and we can either walk you through re-engaging the screw or make an appointment to bring you in to have it fixed.
You are on your way to a terrific improvement in your teeth, bite, and facial features!