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

One 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?

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

  1. Carmen says:

    Does it matter how you close your jaw while having this appliance? I have been a little self conscious about that issue and I just got the springs yesterday

  2. Amar says:

    I was recommended the functional appliance by my ortho. I am 19 years of age. I want to know if this will still have the same effect on me? My ortho says that it will still work but may need to be worn for extra time.

    • Hi Amar. Functional appliances can improve your overbite, but they do so by tipping your TEETH not your jaw. So yes, you will see some improvement at age 19, but it will not be because your JAW is growing. It is only because the teeth are shifting. The final result will be improvement, but nothing short of surgery will change your jaw size at age 19.

  3. Lexy says:

    I don’t know how to exactly brush my teeth with this appliance. I can’t get all the way around my mouth because of the springs any tips?

  4. Ashely kimberlin says:

    Is it normal to get a sore where you spring?y cheek also feels very sensitive it hurts to touch it, but I’m only having trouble with one side of my face.

    • It is very common to have sore cheeks when you first get your springs. After a couple of weeks however, that should go away. If it persists, get back in and see your orthodontist.

  5. Sarah says:

    I just got these today, and one side seems looser and moves around a lot more than the other side, which is tight and stays down instead of flopping about. Is this normal?

    • It is very possible for one spring to be tighter than the other. It usually means you have a bigger problem on the tighter side. Given time, the teeth should move farther on the tight side and the tension will become even. Good luck!

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