Herbst-Scharnier

The Herbst-Scharnier is a fixed brace used for the treatment of overbite in the lower jaw. A typical Herbst-Scharnier consists of two metal rails that are cemented to the upper and lower posterior teeth and two telescopic attachments that, once inserted, immediately bring the lower jaw forwards. The Herbst-Scharnier device allows both forward and sideward movement of the jaw and also allows the mouth to open fully, but it prevents the lower jaw from moving backwards.

History

The Herbst-Scharnier device was first introduced by Emil Herbst in 1931, but was initially ignored and was neglected for decades. It was re-discovered in 1979 by Hans Pancherz. Since then, Pancherz and many other writers have all published studies about the Herbst-Scharnier so that it has become the best-researched brace ever.

Effect

The Herbst-Scharnier works just like an Activator that is worn for 24 hours a day although actually it works better because an Activator only works when the mouth is closed whereas the Herbst-Scharnier works all the time. For this reason, most adolescent lower-jaw overbite problems can be corrected within 9 months. So the Herbst-Scharnier outperforms the slow and often deficient Activator in a fraction of the time. This is why it is such an effective brace. As is the case with the ‘functional orthopedic’ double plates, the effect produced by the Herbst comes mainly from movement of the mouth rather than as result of any growth. And the small skeletal changes largely disappear during the years following treatment, so that in the long term, not even the Herbst can bring about any noticeable lengthening of the lower jaw. Traditionally, the Herbst-Scharnier used to be used just for adolescents but it is now also used for adults who are in their forties and can even be an alternative to dysgnathic surgery.

Advantages

An extremely effective dental brace that requires no co-operation from the patient.

Disadvantages

Expensive, often needs repair, requires a lot of medical time; is uncomfortable for many patients and a second course of treatment with brackets is almost imperative.

Herbst clones

The therapeutic principle of the Herbst-Scharnier has been replicated by dozens of forward-acting mechanisms over the years. Some are almost identical to the Herbst-Scharnier, e.g. the Eureka Spring, the MALU brace and the SUS Spring, whereas others are more elastic but are mechanically the same. These include the Jasper Jumper, the Forsus Spring and the Bite Fixer (the list is endless). The advantage of many Herbst clones is that all the different treatment procedures can be carried out within a single phase, whilst the Herbst clones require two treatment phases. Skillful use of Herbst clones can significantly shorten the treatment time so that the treatment itself is more effective.