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.

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

  1. Lara says:

    Hi,
    I’m getting the forsus next month,
    and to be honest I’m really scared..
    How long do I need to wear them?
    I really don’t want to have them on for 9+ months.

    • This is a question for your orthodontist. The length of time that you must have them on is determined by the severity of your overbite. Your local orthodontist is the best person to ask about your specific case.

  2. Ann Kramer says:

    My son had the Forsus springs put in about two months ago and it has not been a pleasant experience for either of us. They have fallen out 5 times. I do not mean they have come apart I mean the bracket has let loose and the entire upper portion of the spring came out. This has happened on both sides. They were even wired in and it still happened and this last time the spring came out and he swallowed it. He is 15 and is doing everything right. Cutting his food up small being very aware of how he is chewing and this is just not working. The orthodontist keeps telling us this has never happened with any other patient but yet it continues to happen with my son. Any advise??

    • Not to be accusatory, but you asked. Your son is doing something to damage his springs. I’ve used hundreds and hundreds of them and have never had anyone break theirs more than once or twice at the most. The only time I’ve seen anything close to this is with one patient who was an athlete and was breaking his springs (and brackets) with the mouth guard he wore during sports. You need to have your son be honest about what is going on here. This amount of breakage is excessive.

  3. Adam says:

    My left spring is completely fine. It works perfectly. The right spring jams and stops at a certain point when I bite down. The left one goes through the whole bite motion fine, but the right one stops and jams into my tooth. Also, the right one is a bit loose on the bottom tooth.

  4. Sandee says:

    My 15 year old just got the Forsus in. No pain yet, just adjustments to eating. He plays football and I would like to know if he can wear the regular mouth piece or does he need to have a special one made?

    • He will either need a special mouthguard designed for Class II corrector appliances like the Forsus or your orthodontist will need modify a regular mouthguard so that it will fit around the springs.

  5. Valerie Thurber says:

    I’ve had one orthodontist recommend the Herbst and another the Forsus. What are the pros and cons of each? Thanks

  6. Alice says:

    How can I persuade my orthodontist to use this appliance?

  7. Alice says:

    I have a overbite and my orthodontist says I need surgery, is this an alternative?

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