When diagnosing a patient’s condition, we use a cephalometric x-ray to take images from the side of the head. This allows our expert orthodontists to determine if the problems the patient is suffering from are skeletal or dental in nature, or in some cases, a combination of the two. Skeletal conditions require extra intervention through the use of special appliances and/or surgery. One appliance that addresses skeletal conditions is the Herbst appliance.
When used at the right time, a Herbst appliance can allow a patient to avoid surgery.
Herbst appliances position the lower jaw so it sits more forward. This helps to enlarge the oropharynx, which results in opening the upper airway. By doing this, severe breathing issues can be treated, and if they have yet to develop, avoided entirely. In some cases, it is used with an expander, meant to increase the size of the upper jaw, further treating breathing problems. It is most effective on patients who have yet to reach puberty.