Dr. Greg Jorgensen
(505) 891-9440
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.

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

  1. Mackenzie says:

    So I’m getting my spacers tomorrow, and my braces next week. I’m 12 years old, and I was just wondering, do I get my braces and the forsus on at the same time?

  2. Mar says:

    I got springs like two months ago and a couple days, I was wondering if there were different sizes of springs that do more effect on the jaw going up to fix a overbite and jet. How long does it take for a overbite and overjet to be fixed?

    • There are different sizes of “push rods,” but the springs are all the same size. As for how long you’ll need them, that is determined by how severe your overbite was to begin and how fast your teeth move (everyone is different). One point of clarification mentioned in your question, please understand that Forsus springs ONLY MOVE THE TEETH, they do not change the jaw position.

  3. Jake says:

    I am going to get my springs in about a week. Do I get one on each side of my mouth or only one on one side. I did hear people saying that they only needed one.

  4. Sarah says:

    Hi, I’ve had the forsus springs on since the beginning of September. My teeth now are no longer an overbite and more of an underbite. My teeth are also already straight from the braces before the forsus springs. How much longer do you think I’ll have braces? My next appointment is in December.

  5. Gabriela says:

    Hi I’m getting my forsus and have a 75% over bite, how long do you think I’ll need them for

    • Everyone is different. Teeth move different speeds depending upon bone density, mouth posture, and a lot of other variables. Orthodontic movement is like most other things in the body… unpredictable. Good luck!

  6. Brian Hodges says:

    Hi, I’m an adult and I’ve had my braces for 4 months now. I was informed this week by my orthodontist that I will be getting Forsus spring appliances when I come back in 6 weeks. They look quite cumbersome and awkward to wear and I’m interested to know what they will feel like when I begin wearing them. I found it extremely hard to get used wearing braces at first, as far as eating and cleaning them goes, and am worried that this may be even more difficult with the springs. It sounds like it takes a few weeks to adjust to them, is that correct? Thanks!

  7. Rebecca says:

    Hello. I’d like to get your opinion if possible on the better of fixed appliances and method of treatment. We had a few consultations for my 15 year old son. One orthodotist would like to use the Herbst with an expander, one wants to use the Forsus and an expander, while yet another orthodontist said just rubber bands and possible extraction of 2 teeth. My son thinks the Forsus looks less invasive and much prefers it, however we’d like to also do what is best for his profile and teeth. He has been diagnosed with class II malocclusion with a deep overbite. His upper 2 front teeth come to a V in the front and overlap slightly. I was told that his overbite is around 3mm. His profile slopes quite a bit backwards from his nose to his chin. Thanks so much.

    • As you have discovered, there are many ways to arrive at the same result. You cannot grow a mandible, so the results using elastics, Forsus, or Herbst will be the same. Don’t choose the doctor by the tool he uses. Choose the doctor you trust the most.

  8. Dolores says:

    My granddaughter was fitted for headgear, however she is deathly afraid of it. It seems to not stay in the whole. Is there anything else she can get to correct the overbite. She is crying constantly.

    • Headgear does work, but there are alternatives. I can’t recommend a specific one for your granddaughter because I have not examined her, but some possibilities are functional appliances, surgery, TADS, elastics, etc.

  9. Mary Anne says:

    How long does it take to put the appliance in?

  10. brian hodges says:

    Hi again Dr. Jorgensen, when I went for my appointment last week, my ortho said that my teeth aren’t quite ready for a heavy enough archwire to support my Forsus appliances yet. She bonded brackets to my farthest rear bottom molars though and they have been extremely difficult to eat with, as they keep pinching my inner cheeks if I’m not really careful. My question is, will they be doing this to my top rear molars too when I get my Forsus and if so, will it be this painful again?

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