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Our No-Headgear Approach

Unattractive, uncomfortable, and just plain embarrassing to wear, orthodontic headgear has likely caused many would-be orthodontic patients to shy away from treatment altogether. Introduced in the 1800s, headgear is still used by the majority of orthodontists to treat overbites. Molen Orthodontic’s no-headgear approach results in gentler, more discreet, yet highly stable orthodontic treatment. You want people to notice you, not your orthodontic appliances, and at Molen, we’ll make sure that happens.

When you choose Molen Orthodonticsyou’ll benefit from our innovative approach to orthodontic treatment—we avoid the use of headgear in all cases, instead embracing more progressive techniques to address ‘overbites’. Our approach is to help the lower jaw grow forward. This leaves the upper jaw in its natural, healthy position, and encourages the lower jaw to align the bite. By helping the lower jaw grow forward, instead of pushing back the upper jaw with headgear, we can give you a healthier, more aligned bite while keeping your airway open, which in turn decreases your risk of developing future issues with your breathing and sleep.

Herbst, not Headgear

An important part of our no-headgear approach is the use of our custom-designed Herbst appliance. One advantage that is immediately obvious is how inconspicuous the Herbst is when compared to headgear. Instead of being immediately visible to every passing onlooker, the Herbst appliance is small and located inside of the mouth, only being visible when the patient opens their mouth widely.

When the Herbst appliance is used properly, it gently and comfortably encourages lower jaw growth, aligning the jaws and eliminating the overbite. This appliance is most effective during late preadolescence, when the child is experiencing the early stages of their pubescent growth spurt.

The Herbst appliance has been in use for decades, but our doctors have developed a state-of-the-art approach to using it which maximizes the amount of true lower jaw growth, without flaring the lower teeth. This results in your beautiful, aligned Molen smile lasting for life. We custom-design each patient’s Herbst and fabricate them at our in-house lab, giving you a signature smile that is beautiful, straight, and healthy, while leaving ugly, uncomfortable headgear in the past where it squarely belongs.

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The Downside of Headgear

Besides being unattractive, uncomfortable, and bothersome, headgear can have some undesirable side effects. Headgear is commonly used to correct overbites by pushing the upper jaw and teeth backward, while also preventing the jaw from growing. This approach assumes that the upper jaw is the source of the overbite, when in reality, the vast majority of overbites are due to the lower jaw being too small and set too far back.

Because of how headgear works, it can result in negative effects. First of all, when you have a lower jaw that is set too far back, and you “fix it” by pushing the upper jaw back to match it, the result can severely impede the growth of the upper airway, resulting in breathing difficulties like sleep apnea. Secondly, pushing the upper jaw backward, especially in combination with a small lower jaw, tends to result in a caved-in look, which negatively affects the profile and overall look of the face.

If you want to learn more about our no-headgear approach and how we can effectively and discretely help you get the smile you’ve always wanted, contact us to arrange your free consultation!

Herbst Appliance

Herbst Appliances are used to correct overbites and help guide your jaws into the right position. In this short video, you'll learn about what to expect, how to get used to your appliance and more!