Overbite - Herbst Appliance
Jairo is a male youth patient treated for overbite at our Oxnard office. Jairo was diagnosed as having a retrognathic mandible. In simplest terms, a retrognathic mandible is a recessed lower jaw that creates a steep overbite, and as you can see in the visual aid, this orthodontic condition prevents the front teeth from making natural, comfortable contact with lower teeth. Facial structure is a physical trait that is based in part on genetics, and it’s one of the most identifiable examples of an inherited physical trait. Therefore, it was not surprising that when we treated two of Jairo’s siblings, they also were diagnosed with retrognathic mandibles. In some cases a retrognathic mandible may be considered to simply be recessed but not undersized or growing slowly, but in Jairo’s case the retrognathic mandible was considered to be growing slowly resulting in and undersized and recessed mandible which caused the underbite.
Since Jairo was young and his facial structure was still growing, the mandible is rather malleable. This allowed us to use a Herbst appliance to help accelerate the growth of his mandible which would in turn help to reduce the apparent overbite. An Herbst appliance serves a similar function to headgear, but it is fixed to the patient’s molars and therefore provides constant control of the relationship between the upper and lower jaw. Because we were able to treat Jairo before his facial structure was fully developed, we were able to avoid orthognathic surgery and were able to control the growth of his facial structure using the Herbst appliance and then optimize his bite using braces over a period of 30 months. The results have been outstanding, and this was an excellent example of how early orthodontic evaluations and early orthodontic treatment can treat with relative ease conditions which could otherwise require more intensive treatments if left unresolved until later in life.