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.

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

  1. Jacqueline says:

    I just got these in a few days ago, and the top right tooth it is connected to feels like it is loose and going to come out and it hurts like a loose tooth does. Is this common?

  2. Desiree Robles says:

    Hi I’m 15 years old and have had the springs for about two weeks. I was wondering if I would be able to go snorkeling with them?

  3. Desiree Robles says:

    Hi again! I’m not sure if springs and forsus are the same, but I’m worried they might get in the way with the mouth gear when I go snorkeling since the forsus are in the same place where I put the mouth piece in

  4. Michele says:

    Wondering the difference between the Herbst and Forsus? Two different orthodontists want to put the Herbst on my children, the third consult wants to use the Forsus and warned against the Herbst suggesting future jaw problems. I think I heartd them say they both had Class II overjet if that makes sense. Thanks!

    • Michele says:

      My apologies, I didn’t see all the pages here at first and so I was able to find the answer on your great site. Thanks! I read that you prefer the Forsus over the Herbst. What is confusing me is that the orthodontists suggest that they will get the jaw to grow forward with these appliances. Your comments suggest that the devices do not make the jaw go forward, only the teeth move forward. Is it possible that the jaw will grow forward with children that are still growing? Ages 12 (girl) and 14 (boy). Thank you again.

      • There is absolutely no proof that fixed or or removable functional appliances “grow” the jaws. NONE. In fact study after study after study has shown that the effects are completely dental in nature. The lower front teeth move forward and the upper front teeth tip back. Anyone who says different is not paying attention to the science that continues to flow from controlled, refereed research

    • Both the Herbst and the Forsus provide the same results. They move the bottom teeth forward and the top teeth back. Neither make the jaws grow longer. I prefer the Forsus because it is more flexible (as opposed to rigid) and easier for the patient to adapt to. By the way, I’m not aware of any studies showing future problems with either appliance.

  5. Chris says:

    Hey, I just got this springs, (helping with my overbite) and the bottom left bolt holding the spring has been sliding along the space with little to no friction. The other bolts usually stay in place. Is this something I need to bring up with my orthodontist?

    • If you have “bolts” on your wire, you probably have something like a Forsus spring, but not a Forsus spring (they don’t have bolts). My recommendation is that you return to your orthodontist to have the bolt tightened. It is probably a very quick procedure with the right tool.

  6. Cristina says:

    Hello! I have a huge overbite due to underdeveloped lower jaw. Had a bit of an overjet too but was fixed with braces that are still in place now. The overbite is like 5mm or so. I’m getting Forsus put on. Will it do any good? My orthodontist simply has no idea what he’s doing for he’s never used one on any of his pacients. I actually have to bring hom material to read and learn a d videos online to see how it actually works.
    Since I have a very incompetent otdhodontist and can’t afford to lose the money I already paid for treatment and pay again another doctor I’m kindly asking for some info on what it actually does. Will it fix my overbite or will it just make things worse by pulling perectly straight teeth back into my head losing all facial support and proper functionality?
    Btw, I’m 34 so no jaw growth will ever take place if that’s the appliance’s purpose. From what I see in the video, the jaw mives into the proper position but the comments say only the teeth move. Where could the lower teeth move forward 5-6 mm if the jaw ends there, in the back? I’m really confused. First I wanted orthognatic sirgery and bith the dentist and orthodentist said they can fix it with no surgery. It’s been 4 years and they still haven’t addressed the issue. They only fixed the overjet and shortened the top teeth (for some reason a girl with long beautiful teeth is not “correct”). Pleae tell me Forsus will work for otherwise all 4 years were for nothing! I can’t even get a job because of the braces for I work in airline business and can’t afford not to look presentable and the braces and deep overbite make it virtually impossible.
    Thank you in advance for a quick reply before my orthodontist takes further steps in a potentially wrong direction regarding my treatment!

    • Forsus springs correct overbites by TIPPING the lower teeth forward and the upper teeth back. 5mm is a lot, but you will see improvement even as an adult. They do not move the jaw at all, just the teeth.

  7. Sophia says:

    Dr. Jorgensen, i have forsus springs, but when i try to brush my teeth, i cannot close my mouth, and it takes like 5 mins to close it again.. I do not know if the problem is the springs, or how i close and open my mouth.. How can i fix it?

    • I don’t think that you can fix it on your own. I think the angle of the lower “plungers” needs to be changed so that they don’t lock up after you’ve opened wide. I would go see your orthodontist for a “tweak”

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