Alternatives to Herbst Appliances

The Herbst appliance is a dental fixture that corrects overbites via four stainless steel crowns connected to the back molar teeth. Cylinders and bars attached to the crowns hold the jaw in place, allowing the lower jaw to grow into its proper position. The Herbst appliance isn't the only orthodontic solution for overbites -- consult your orthodontist to find the correction method that works best for you.

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The Herbst appliance and its alternatives all help correct overbites.

Twin Blocks

The twin block appliance is similar in function to the Herbst appliance, though slightly dissimilar in form. This device uses upper and lower occlusal pads to cover the molars and bicuspids, and two plates, which interlock at a 70-degree angle, to lock the mandible in a forward position. Over time, the "locked-in" mandible remains in place, correcting the overbite. In general, the twin blocks appliance offers a quicker fix than the Herbst appliance.

Bionator

The bionator appliance has an appearance similar to a retainer that rests between the two rows of teeth, making it the most visually obtrusive alternative to the Herbst appliance. This orthodontic device consists of a custom-shaped wire framework, an acrylic body resting against the inside surface of the teeth and an adjustable expansion screw. The bionator corrects the unmmatched dental arch that results from a small lower jaw by encouraging jaw growth in developing patients.

Other Appliances

The Jasper Jumper appliance shares a similar form with the Herbst appliance, though it adds increased flexibility, using intra-oral force modules to redirect the growth of facial muscles. The Eureka Spring -- another Class II overbite corrector -- features a spring module and compression spring, which drive a push rod against the mandibular anterior teeth to exert pressure and encourage corrective jaw growth. Orthodontists also offer removable versions of the Herbst, twin blocks and Jasper Jumper appliances.

Surgical Treatment

Surgical treatment, known as orthognathic surgery, can correct an overbite without the need of an appliance. Via lower jaw advancement and repositioning, upper jaw setback, surgical jaw widening and even genioplasty -- surgical chin alternation -- this type of surgery helps ease conditions such as chronic jaw and temporormandibular joint disorder (TMJ), breathing problems, speech problems and cosmetic issues.