Dr. Greg Jorgensen
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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.

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

  1. angie says:

    I have a 16 year old son who needs to have springs put on, I am concerned about long term effects. Will this affect his joints at all? I had braces for years as a kid along with rubberbands. I didn’t have much trouble with TMJ right away, but now I suffer horribly from it. I have had my jaw lock on me once. An MRI showed that my joint on the right side is severely damaged and on left side damaged, but not as bad. I wear a splint at night made specifically for TMJ sufferers. Is this something I need to worry about happening to him 10-20 years down the road?

    • There is no evidence that rubberbands, spring, extractions, headgear, or any other technique associated with braces causes TMJ issues. I’ve used hundreds of Forsus springs with remarkable results and never a TMJ problem. I think he’ll be fine.

  2. Lara Anwhatin says:

    im 15 years old and i have these springs for my overbite but it extremly hurts and today ( March 26.15) my springs came undone and one fell out i dont know what to do and i cant handle the pain is there an easy way out?

    • You need to discuss these issues with your orthodontist. These springs should not be painful nor should they fall out. I’ve used them for 10 years and they are the best overbite correction product on the market today in my opinion.

  3. Phillip says:

    I see that this is advertised for children, can it be used in adults? What are the odds that my teeth go back to their initial position (too far back) in children and adults?

    • Forsus springs work by moving the teeth in the bone and work in both adults and children. They just take a little longer in adults because the bones are more mature (dense).

  4. Kayce says:

    I am 14 years old and I just got springs. I am starting to get a lot of tiny bumps on my tongue. Is that normal? And How long do you think I will have my springs? My overbite isn’t very severe

    • I can’t comment on how long your springs will be in place, but I will say that it is normal to have some issues with your tongue whenever you get something new in your mouth. Be patient for a week or two and everything should go back to normal.

  5. conrad says:

    My daughter 16 had the springs added to her braces 2 days ago. When she asked how long she would have to wear them she was told 3 or 4. Three OR Four What? Weeks , months? Today she woke up in a while lot of pain, she never complains of pain.. is athletic and plays through injuries. If She’s saying she’s hurting, and bad…I imagine it hurts. Do you recommend anything to ease the pain?

    • I can’t answer the time estimate for your doctor, but I would guess it was probably 3 to 4 months or 3 to 4 visits. As for the pain, it is temporary and your daughter should feel better within a few days. Over-the-counter meds should be sufficient.

  6. Jessica says:

    Is it possible to get springs without getting braces on your bottom teeth? Do you get springs when you first get your braces?

    • It is not possible to use inter-arch springs without having something to attach them to in the lower arch. Whether there are braces or some else, you’ve got to have something to push against or the springs are useless.

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