Dr. Greg Jorgensen
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1401 Barbara Loop SE
Rio Rancho, NM 87124

The Jorgensen Orthodontics Blog

Kiss Your Overbite Goodbye with Forsus Springs

Posted by Dr. Jorgensen on October 19th, 2012

Forsus4One of the most common questions new orthodontic patients ask me is “Do I need headgear?” For years, headgear was the most common way to fix overbites. Over the past 25 years there has been a gradual shift away from headgear, so much so that it is now very rare to see anyone wearing it. Not only has this change come about because kids don’t like it, but also because there are now excellent alternatives that are more acceptable to today’s youth. One of these is the Forsus Spring.

Protrusive upper teeth can be the result of upper teeth that are too far forward, lower teeth that are too far back, an upper jaw that is too big, or a lower jaw that is too small (this being most common). If your orthodontist determines that your overbite can be resolved by moving the upper teeth back while allowing the lower teeth to move forward an equal amount, he may recommend inter-arch springs (connected between your upper teeth and your lower ones). I have used many spring designs over the past 25 years but have never been as impressed as I am with the Forsus made by 3M Unitek.

I like the Forsus spring because 1) it is hidden inside the cheeks and almost undetectable, 2) it allows normal mouth movements and is well tolerated by patients, 3) it is tough and rarely breaks, 4) it causes very few emergencies, 5) it has few undesirable side effects, and 6) it is non-removable by the patients so it cannot be misplaced or forgotten. The Forsus spring is made out of nickel titanium so it provides a constant, non-decaying force. The bottom line is that IT WORKS!

The following video illustrates the Forsus spring (although the one pictured is an older model than we currently use):

Here is some useful information to make your experience with the Forsus spring as easy as possible. Like anything associated with your braces, it will take a couple days to get used to having them in your mouth. This is especially true at meal time. Besides having to relearn how to chew, it will also take you a few days to get the hang of keeping them clean. The springs work best when your teeth are together (because that’s when the force is in its most horizontal direction). To help keep your teeth together at night and “supercharge” their effectiveness, your orthodontist might recommend wearing light elastics between your upper and lower teeth while you sleep just to help you keep your teeth together. Forsus springs usually remain in place anywhere between 3 months to a year depending upon the severity of your overbite.

Although Forsus springs are generally trouble free, you should call your orthodontist if you notice any of the following: 1) the bracket on the upper back tooth where the spring is anchored becomes separated from the tooth or band, 2) the bracket on the lower front tooth (against which the spring pushes) either gets loose or the little steel tie comes off, 3) you notice any of the front teeth turning because of the pressure, 4) the spring doesn’t feel like it rebounds smoothly or it appears damaged, 5) you start to get an ulceration where the spring rubs against your cheek, 6) you start to get spaces where there shouldn’t be any, or 7) if you think that the spring has worked too well and your bite is overcorrected. Examining your springs daily and notifying your doctor when you notice anything out of the ordinary can help keep you on schedule and avoid setbacks due to breakage or overcorrection.

Forsus springs are the best overbite correction technique that I’ve used in 25 years. Although they are not appropriate for everyone (especially those with lower front teeth that are already flared), they are an effective way to make the upper and lower teeth fit correctly. Does your orthodontist use Forsus springs?

NOTE: The author, Dr. Greg Jorgensen, is a board-certified orthodontist who is in the private practice of orthodontics in Rio Rancho, New Mexico (a suburb on the westside of Albuquerque). He was trained at BYU, Washington University in St. Louis, and the University of Iowa in the United States. Dr. Jorgensen’s 25 years of specialty practice and 10,000 finished cases qualify him an expert in two-phase treatment, extraction and non-extraction therapy, functional orthodontics, clear aligners (Invisalign), and multiple bracket systems (including conventional braces, Damon and other self-ligating brackets, Suresmile, and lingual braces). This blog for informational purposes only and is designed to help consumers understand currently accepted orthodontic concepts. It is not a venue for debating alternative treatment theories. Dr. Jorgensen is licensed to diagnose and treat patients only in the state of New Mexico. He cannot diagnose cases described in comments nor can he select treatment plans for readers. Because he has over 25,000 readers each month, it is impossible for him respond to all questions. Please read all of the comments associated with each article as most of the questions he receives each week have been asked and answered previously. The opinions expressed here are protected by copyright laws and can only be used with written permission from the author.

166 comments so far in response to “Kiss Your Overbite Goodbye with Forsus Springs”

  1. T says:

    I’m a 17 yr old girl and I have a recessive chin which is bad for my appearance. WIll these improve it?

    • Great question. Any type of orthodontic appliance will only move teeth and not your chin. If you want your chin position altered, that will require braces and jaw surgery.

  2. Laura Bass says:

    Hi Dr. Jorgensen,

    Thank you for all the amazing information you provide on your site. I have a specific question about this particular article (on the Forsus springs): I have a 17 year-old son with an overbite, and he is very worried about the so-called “headgear effect” (recessed chin, elongated face, larger-looking nose, etc.) – Do the Forsus springs work just like traditional headgear just without having to wear the full appliance (resulting in the “effect”), or does it work in a different manner, and not have such a drastic change in facial profile? I apologize if you’ve answered this question before somewhere, I couldn’t find it asked. As an aside, my husband wore headgear, and although his teeth are perfectly straight and lovely today, he laments the whole “headgear effect.”

    Many thanks for any advice you can offer!

    • Forsus springs will NOT move the jaws at all, only the teeth. The upper teeth will move back. The lower ones will move forward. This happens because the spring pushes the two sets of teeth in opposite directions. This may change the lip posture slightly, but it is usually imperceptible. Headgear works by restraining the growth of the upper jaw (if used orthopedically) or by scooting the upper teeth back (if used orthodontically, which requires 18+ hours a day). The mechanism of the springs and headgear are very different. The only way to give your son a better chin or change his face predictably in any way is through surgery.

  3. Stiv says:

    How long does forsus take aproximetly to fix an overbite

  4. Evie says:

    I just got on my forsus springs on today and my left feels much tighter than the right. When I close my mouth this tightness makes my jaw/teeth jut to the right. Also, the left spring fully compresses before the right spring when I close my mouth, making the jaw/teeth jut to the side (the same way as before). My jaw also seems to come forward a bit giving the appearance of an underbite. Is this normal since I just got it on? Or do I need to go back and get it tweaked? Also when i close my mouth my back teeth don’t touch so I’m not sure how I will eat haha, any tips? Thanks :)

    • Every thing you are describing is normal. Sometimes one side feels stronger than the other because it starts with a bigger problem. Give it a month or so (until you next orthodontic appointment) and see what your orthodontist has to say about your progress.

  5. Ale says:

    I have a question, i got my springs in yesterday and this morning i was doing perfectly fine and randomly my left (bottom) jaw started hurting when i try to swallow. why?

    • There is an adjustment period after springs go in, so you need to be patient and let your body adjust. The sore throat may (and this is just a guess) be caused by the springs holding your mouth open while you are asleep. If you think that is what is going on, ask your orthodontist for some elastics you can wear to hold your mouth closed while you sleep.

  6. Irene says:

    does this work with visalign on the top? I have braces on the bottom?

  7. Lisa L. says:

    My child’s orthodontist installed the forsus spring in my 15 yr old and she could not deal with at all, her ocd made her freak out and when I took her back to have the forsus spring removed, the orthodontist was rude and non compassionate and basically told me my child needs to deal with it because there are no other alternatives. We already paid him over 5 thousand dollars for her braces treatment and I need to find out, whether there are other alternatives to fix her over bite, besides this forsus spring apparatus or is this orthodontist just making money from us? please advise.

    • I have used many devices for reducing overjets over the past 23 years. I am a fan of Forsus springs because they are actually the easiest and most readily accepted appliances of their type. Other options include removing teeth, jaw surgery, Herbst appliances, functional appliances, temporary anchors (screws placed into the bone around the teeth), and headgear. These other options each has its own advantages and disadvantages and they are not necessarily interchangeable. Again, in my experience Forsus springs are one of the easiest and most predictable ways to correct an overbite.

  8. Mark says:

    Hey. My springs are constantly bothering me and food always get behind them. I am really tired of these and am thinking about getting them taken off since my ortho says i hath to wear them for TWO years. Any advice?

    • If you have them removed, you need to consider the options: headgear, extractions, surgery, etc. I think each of these may be worse than what you are currently experiencing. Give the springs some time. If you don’t get used to them in the next week or two, return to your orthodontist to see if they can be adjusted differently.

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