what is a herbst appliance

What Is a Herbst Appliance?

With all the treatments available for treating your child’s orthodontic issues, it can be hard keeping them all straight. If you’ve heard your child’s orthodontist mention a Herbst appliance, you might have a lot of questions about it. Here at Fravel Brewer Orthodontics, we want to take a couple minutes to answer all your questions about this effective, 100-year-old treatment. 

What is a Herbst Appliance?

A Herbst appliance is used to fix overbites by having bands or caps cemented to certain teeth. These are then attached to metal arms, which connect the upper portion of the appliance to the lower portion.

What Does It Do?

As mentioned above, a Herbst appliance is used to fix overbites, where the upper teeth protrude over the lower teeth.  The appliance works best when used on patients who are still growing, hence why they are almost exclusively used with children and teens. These appliances work most effectively when teeth aren’t too crowded and the patient has a lower jaw that is too far back from their upper jaw. Over time, usually ten to twelve months, the Herbst appliance gradually moves the lower jaw and lower teeth to become more in line with the upper jaw and teeth.

Herbst Appliance Cost

The cost of Herbst appliance treatment varies based on your location. It is often proceeds treatment with braces or Invisalign, so it can be considered the first phase of treatment. Depending on the situation, the cost may be added to the rest of the treatment and rolled into one payment plan. Most orthodontists offer a variety of payment options to best fit your needs.

Appliances for Adults

As mentioned above, Herbst appliances are most effective when used on younger, growing children. So is there ever a time one might be recommended for an adult? Rarely, an orthodontist might recommend the appliance for an adult with an overbite. However, positive results might not be achieved, since adults’ jaws are already fully grown and bone development is at a minimum. A more effective solution for adults is generally jaw surgery, which comes with a long recovery. In light of this, it’s best to correct overbites at or just before pubertal growth, when bone growth is at its peak.

Herbst Appliance Alternatives

Minor overbites can be fixed with the use of elastics or rubber bands worn with braces or Invisalign. However, if the overbite is severe enough, this type of correction will require a tremendous amount of compliance and wear and many times falls well short of a full correction.

There are numerous alternatives similar to Herbst appliances. One of them is a Twin Block, which is a removable set of retainers designed to correct overbites. Another is traditional headgear, which is a neck strap that attaches to a wire connected in and outside the mouth. A Herbst appliance is more discreet than these options and can’t be removed, which eliminates the need for children and their parents to try to remember to wear it. This leads to a very predictable and stable result.


Fravel Brewer proudly serves patients to achieve beautiful smiles as the preferred orthodontist in Winter Garden, Ocoee, and Windermere. Request your complimentary orthodontic exam to discuss braces, Invisalign, or other treatment options with our West Orlando orthodontists today! 

Fravel Brewer Orthodontics has been helping patients achieve beautiful smiles as the preferred orthodontist in Winter Garden, Ocoee, and West Orange County, Florida for almost 30 years. Treatment options for kids and adults include Invisalign, Invisalign Teen, ceramic braces, and silver braces. Call us at (407) 656-0001 to schedule a free consultation today!