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

One 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?

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

  1. Alma says:

    I got springs today, and I am feeling very self-conscious with them. Whenever I smile, I think you can notice them, and I am dreading going to school tomorrow.
    Another problem is that I play the oboe, and I am not sure whether it will be possible. With the braces alone I was already having problems, now I’m really worried that I’ll have to give it up. (I’m going to have the springs for six months)
    Any tips?

    • I doubt anyone will notice the springs as much as you do. My patients don’t complain about them at all. Also, the springs will not affect your oboe playing any more than your braces did. Good luck!

  2. Brooklynn says:

    Is this the spring that orthodontists use if you dont wear your rubber bands enough? If not what is that spring called?

  3. Greg says:

    I have headgear (I HATE IT), I would so much rather have springs. I brought it up to my orthodontist and he said it wouldn’t be necessary. Why is that?

    • All doctors have different training and experience. We don’t all use the same techniques. Headgear does still work, but there are other ways to accomplish the same thing. Perhaps your doctor is not familiar with Forsus springs or is just used to using headgear. Neither is better than the other if the results are the same.

  4. Carol says:

    If I am reading correctly here, using headgear, Forsus, or Herbst will not actually help move my son’s lower jaw forward as it grows. Is this correct? I have taken my 11-year-old to three different orthodontists, and each has recommended one of the above to move his bottom jaw bone forward during his growth spurts while keeping his top jaw bone stationary to correct his 8mm over jet. Do any of the above methods move the bottom jaw bone, or do they all just move the teeth, so eventually they are aligned properly with the top?

    • Research over the past several decades has repeatedly shown that there is no way to grow a jaw longer than the DNA dictates. Now the headgear can change the direction of growth in the upper and keep the upper set of teeth from moving forward, but it can’t move the lower jaw forward. Study after study has shown that the Forsus and Herbst can correct overbites, but they do so by moving the teeth. The result is less overbite. But if your orthodontist is reading the literature and is being honest with himself, the correction is DENTAL and not skeletal. I use headgear, MARA, Forsus, etc. and I see overbites corrected. I don’t see lower jaws getting longer and neither are the university studies.

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