James E. Metz, D.D.S. 1271 East Broad Street
Columbus, OH 43205
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Snoring is the sound of obstructed breathing during sleep. While snoring can be harmless (benign snoring), it can also be the sign of a more serious medical condition which progresses from upper airway resistance syndrome (UARS) to obstructive sleep apnea. (OSA)

How bad is your snoring? Click here for yoursnoring index.


What causes snoring?

Snoring occurs when the structures in the throat are large and when the muscles relax enough to cause the airway to narrow and partially obstruct the flow of air. As air tries to pass through these obstructions, the throat's structures vibrate causing the sound we know as " snoring". Large tonsils, a long soft palate and uvula and excess fat deposits contribute to soft tissue narrowing.


The Herbst Appliance

The Herbst for Snoring and Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA)

The Herbst appliance has been used for many years in the treatment of Class II malocclusions in children. With minor modifications, the Herbst appliance has been proven to be effective in the treatment of snoring and mild to moderate OSA.

"Adjustability" is the primary advantage of the Herbst appliance in snoring and OSA cases. The post and sleeve mechanism advances the jaw into a forward position. If desired relief is not immediately achieved, this unique appliance's design allows for additional forward movement of the mandible.

With standard hardware, the mandible is advanced in 1mm increments by adding advancement shims onto the posts. The clinician crimps the shims to secure them so the patient will not lose the shims or the advancement position.

The telescopic version of the Herbst allows the clinician to advance the mandible more precisely. One turn of the advancement collar, until the next hole appears, advances the mandible in 1/4 increments. Please be aware that the arrows indicate the directions of advancement, right side-up, left side-down.

Herbst Material Options

The Herbst appliance can be fabricated from three material options including hard acrylic, thermal active, or soft mouth guard material. Opposing ball hooks located in the upper and lower canine areas are joined by elastics to maintain the vertical dimension. The standard elastic samples provided  are #64, 55/16"-8oz. They will need to be replaced periodically. Any size elastic can be substituted as long as the mandible is maintained in the forward, closed bite position.

Although the soft material may be viewed as more comfortable, periodic replacement may be necessary due to the nature of the material. For this reason, it is not recommended for clenchers or bruxers. If cared for properly, the metal framework can be reused in most cases.

The hard acrylic is ideal for patients with normal dentitions. The thermal active material is suggested for patients with short clinical crowns and dental types that do not have an ideal complement of teeth.

Telescopic Hardware

Telescopic hardware for the Herbst permits the clinician to advance the mechanism without the use of shims. The unique threaded system will not separate, and provides for advancement in more precise 1/4mm  increments. The adjustment collar, on the lower portion of the arm near the bicupsids, will gradually allow up to 5mm of movement.

NEW OPTION! Heavy duty telescopic arms are now available for patients who require a more reinforced attachment (additional fee).

Patient Evaluation

Apnea is typically characterized by excessive daytime sleepiness, frequent morning headaches, and hypertension. Any patient whose bed partner reports that the patient stops breathing and gasps for air during sleep should be evaluated for OSA. If you are being treated for snoring it important to be screened for sleep apnea also, a disorder that can be serious.

All OSA patients can be considered snorers, but not all snorers have OSA. Therefore, it is recommended that patients not be treated without a referral from a medical professional who is competent in the field of sleep disorders.

An initial examination can be completed more thoroughly by utilizing the Epworth Sleepiness Scale, in addition to your routine dental examination. The Epworth Sleepiness Scale should be completed by the patient and his or her bed partner.

Although the Herbst Appliance is a reliable and effective device for the ideal candidate, there are many factors that determine success when using any oral appliance. For example, the patient's weight is a factor to be considered when deciding to use an oral appliance. An appliance will be more effective if the patient's weight is less than 125% of their ideal body weight. Patients whose weight is 150% over their ideal body weight will probably not have a favorable response to dental appliances. In addition to evaluating the patient for snoring and OSA, a complete medical assessment is recommended.

Construction Records

A construction bite is required. It should be open 4-5mm incisally and reflect the desired start position of the mandible. A mandibular advancement of 60-65% of the distance from centric occlusion to full protrusion is recommended.

A set of upper and lower work models poured in dental stone is recommended. If hard acrylic material is selected, two sets of models are suggested. However, if only one set of models is provided, Great Lakes will duplicate your models (additional charge) so that our technician can make the majority of your chair-side adjustments.

Appliance Delivery

For hard acrylic and soft material:

Delivering the appliance to your patient requires very little time and effort. The Herbst appliance simply needs to be evaluated for retention and areas of discomfort. After one week, check for any areas of irritation, and ask the patient to assess the effectiveness of the appliance to determine if advancement adjustments are necessary. Doctors may use the Apnea Link or Epworth to determine oral appliance progress.

For thermal active material:

At initial delivery, the clinician must first hold the appliance under warm tap water (hot to the touch).  The material will soften and be pliable for approximately 10-12 seconds. After insertion and while the appliance is still pliable, patients are instructed to press along the buccal segments and press the lingual aspect with their tongue. This will allow maximum retention. The next morning, the patient should rinse with warm tap water to allow material to soften slightly for easy removal.

Patient Instructions

If your doctor chose the thermal active material version of the Herbst, please remember to first hold the appliance under warm tap water (hot to the touch). The material will soften and be pliable for approximately 10-12 seconds. After insertion and while the appliance is still pliable, press firmly along the surface of your teeth and along the tongue side with your tongue. This will allow maximum retention by forming the material to your tooth surface. The next morning, you should rinse with warm tap water to allow the material to soften slightly for easy removal. Doctors have reported that patients will remove the appliance while in the shower.

Patients can initially expect increased salivation when they begin to wear the Herbst appliance. The excess saliva will subside as the patient becomes accustomed to the appliance. Additionally, when the appliance is removed, the posterior teeth will be slightly separated due to fluid which collects superiorly to the head of the condyle. The fluid will drain in minutes and the teeth will return to normal.

Caring for Your Appliance

It is important not to soak your appliance. Store it, dry, in the case provided after following these simple cleaning instructions.

  • Use COOL, water ONLY: Regularly clean the appliance the same way you clean your teeth - with a toothbrush, toothpaste and COOL water.

  • Do not use effervescent denture cleansers or mouthwash containing alcohol : Over-the-counter effervescent denture cleaners or alcohol can alter the color and damage or weaken the appliance. Using these products may void the warranty.

  • We recommend DentaSOAK for cleaning your appliance : Gentle, effective, and easy to use. DentaSOAK cleans and destroys infection-causing bacteria - in just 15 minutes. DentaSOAK is non-toxic, alcohol free, and persulfate free. DentaSOAK is available in a convenient three month, six month, or one year supply.

Herbst with Standard Hardware

Herbst with Telescopic Advancement Hardware