Dr. Greg Jorgensen
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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?

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

  1. Sonia says:

    I just came across your page and it sounds extremely interesting and “cutting edge”. My son just got braces and he looks very strange, his lower jaw actually sticks forward. His orthodontist says that after he is done with treatment this may be permanent because of my son’s skeletal structure ( what an awful perspective…) could the springs actually help this problem?

    • If his lower jaw sticks forward, his underlying skeletal structure is probably out of balance. Springs of any type only move the teeth. If your son has a bigger lower jaw, the braces probably just removed the dental compensations and made the problem more visible. If your son’s appearance has changed for the worse, you need to discuss further options with his doctor.

  2. Maya says:

    I have a pretty large overbite. My orthodontist recommended twin blocks, but he says they may not work, because my growing has slowed down. He also said the twin blocks would affect my eating and speaking. Would these springs be a better alternative?

    • Actually, the correction that you would get from Twin Blocks or Forsus Springs is almost identical. Both correct the problem by shifting the teeth and not growing the jaws. Therefore, having residual growth is not a requirement of either technique. Given the option, I would choose the springs. They are much easier to live with!

  3. Tanesha says:

    are bands the same thing as this forsus springs? and do these forsus springs move your jaw alignment a lot faster??.. I have one on at the moment

    • Rubber bands and Forsus springs are both used to correct “overbites,” but they are not the same thing. Forsus springs provide more consistent movement because they cannot be forgotten or lost. By the way, neither rubber bands nor springs align the jaws. They only move the teeth.

  4. Helen jones says:

    Why would you want to bring the upper teeth back? That will only result in a flatter profile and thinner lips.
    Dento- facial orthopaedic appliances correct the jaws ie overbite before straightening the teeth. Correcting the foundations first seems logical before straightening the teeth.

    • I am a believer that growth should be used any time it is available. I use a lot of functional appliances in my practice on growing patients. In non-growing patients, functional appliances have been shown to improve overbites by opening the bite (via extra eruption of the posterior teeth), forward movement of the lower TEETH, and backward movement of the upper TEETH. Non-biased universities have been looking at this issue for decades and have determined that functional appliances cannot create more lower jaw growth that is genetically programmed in that patient’s DNA. Ideally all patients with an overbite would agree to have surgery so that the jaws could be repositioned in their perfect positions. Unfortunately not all patients want or can afford jaw surgery. Alternatively, most overbites can be improved via dental compensations (moving the lower teeth forward and the upper teeth back). This is what elastics (rubber bands), Forsus Springs, AND all functional appliances do. So Helen, we bring the upper teeth back AND the lower teeth forward to reduce overbites in patients who have finished growing and don’t want surgery.

  5. stephanie says:

    I have had braces for almost 4 yrs now. 2 of those yrs have been about my overbite. I can’t remember to wear elastics no matter what I do!! But I can’t get my orthodontist to use anything like this. I have a pretty bad overbite. What can I do???

  6. Camala Fowler says:

    Hi, Thank you for your informative article. I have an almost ten year old son with an overbite and a narrow palate. We’ve been in for 3 ortho consults, and each had different recommendations. 1: Headgear now and possible braces later (his teeth are mostly straight, he just lost his first molar); 2. Forsus appliance in a year or two after loss of baby teeth; 3. Palate expander on top and bottom to widen palate (no crossbite, so this seems mostly cosmetic) with headgear and possible braces later. What do you think would be the best option for a boy of his age? What are your thoughts on palate expander when no cross bite is indicated? Thank you for you information.

    • There’s no way to choose a treatment plan for you, but here are some thoughts. 1) I don’t like starting headgear before anything else and it would take an extraordinary 11-year-old to wear it enough to make a difference, 2) I like Forsus springs, and 3) I am not a fan of expanders in the lower.

  7. Mat says:

    For a child around 10-11 years old, does the Forsus adjust the jaw or just shift the teeth?

    My child has an overjet and a pretty big overbite. Does the Forsus work to correct both of those issues?

    I’m wondering because our ortho wants her to wear high pull headgear for several months before moving on to elastics later on. I’ve read some disturbing things about headgear on growing children, slowing the upper jaw from growing naturally, causing airways to not develop properly and changing the facial profile for the worse. Since the problem is the lower jaw, why would we want to hinder the top one from growing as a solution? Does the Forsus put a retractive force on the upper jaw?


    • Forsus springs only move teeth. Although they do push the top teeth back and the bottom teeth forward and there is some skeletal effect, it is not enough to worry about. By the way, the negative comments about headgear are by people who have their own agenda. There has never been any proof that headgear causes problems and hundreds of thousands of patients have had great results using it. The reason you may use a headgear to restrict the upper jaw is because the jaws are out of balance and contrary to “doctors” online who claim they can grow lower jaws with their treatment, no scientific evidence has ever been presented to show additional lower jaw growth beyond what would have occurred on its own.

  8. akkers patel says:

    i recently got spring forsus like a day ago and now my back teeth dont touch so i can not chew anything….is this normal or should i contact my dentist

  9. ashly says:

    My top teeth come out too far when I laugh or smile. Is that a overbite?

    • In common terms it is and overbite. Technically it is excessive overjet. Excessive overjet can be caused by the upper teeth sticking out too far, the lower teeth being back too far, or the upper or lower jaws being out of position.

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