Did you know that orthodontists can use orthodontic appliances other than braces and removable aligners to fix tooth alignment issues? Of these, the two most commonly used so-called functional appliances are the Herbst and the Carriere Motion appliances. But, what are these appliances, and when are they used for tooth alignment? If you are also thinking about these questions, this article is for you. So, continue reading to learn everything you need about these appliances. 

  • Herbst Appliance

The Herbst appliance was invented by a German Orthodontist, Dr. Emil Herbst, in 1909. The Herbst appliance is a functional appliance that utilizes a child’s growth spurt to redirect jaw growth and alignment of the teeth. The appliance consists of a stainless steel framework bonded to the permanent first molar teeth on all four sides. The framework also consists of an arm that connects the upper and lower teeth on each side. This way, the pressure generated by the appliance is transmitted to the back teeth. 

What is the Herbst Appliance Orthodontic Treatment used for?

The Herbst appliance is used for correcting alignment problems in which the upper jaw, or the teeth lie excessively forward with respect to the lower teeth. The Herbst appliance puts a “pulling” pressure on the upper jaw, bringing it inwards. At the same time, it exerts reciprocal pressure on the lower back teeth, forcing them to move forward. As a result, the normal occlusion between the upper and lower teeth is restored. 

In some cases, orthodontists may “activate” the appliance to incorporate an expansion function. This involves applying forces laterally on the roof of the mouth to expand the palate. 

How Long Does the Herbst Appliance Take?

Generally, the Herbst appliance takes around 12 months to provide the desired results. However, more complicated cases may take longer. The Herbst appliance is often used before conventional orthodontic with clear aligners or braces is initiated. The purpose is to harness the body’s active growth during the pubertal stage to favorably redirect jaw growth and tooth alignment. In other cases, dentists may add braces to the upper teeth while treatment with the Herbst appliance continues. 

What are the Advantages of the Herbst Appliance?

Some of the advantages of the Herbst appliance include:

  • Shorter Treatment Time – orthodontic treatment with functional appliances before conventional treatment with braces reduces the time needed for tooth alignment with braces later on. 
  • Lesser Discomfort – teenagers and adults often find it difficult to wear braces or aligners due to discomfort, dietary restrictions, and the effect on their facial aesthetics. When most of the tooth alignment has already been done with functional appliances, orthodontic patients have to bear lesser discomfort and treatment restrictions. Besides, it is easier to perform complex tooth movements and jaw alignment in the younger, pre-pubertal, or pubertal age than in adult life. 

Cost-Saving – using a functional appliance before braces treatment may help reduce treatment costs in the long run.