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Same-Day Starts, Braces, and Consultations Available!

Your Top-Rated Orthodontist in
Charleston, SC, For Braces & Invisalign

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If you have been diagnosed with an overbite, you may have heard of two commonly prescribed devices called the MARA and Herbst appliances. While an overbite could occur because your upper jaw sits forward too far, your lower jaw could also be too far back. The job of the Herbst and MARA appliances is to coax the bottom jaw forward, correcting the overbite by reconnecting your upper and lower arches in a healthier default position.

While the appliances are similar, they differ in several functional ways that could make one or the other more appropriate for your situation. Continue reading to learn more about the MARA vs Herbst appliances, including how they function and how to choose between the two to treat your overbite.

Want to find out if you or your child needs braces? Visit Reese Orthodontics in Charleston, SC for leading orthodontic care.

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What is a MARA Appliance?

“MARA” is an acronym that stands for “Mandibular Anterior Repositioning Appliance.” It consists of a vertical tension system that connects your back molars on both the top and bottom jaw with specialized elbow joints. The mechanism that tightens and repositions the jaw sits across your palate.

The elbow attachments can be easily removed, allowing your orthodontist to make the needed adjustments at your follow-up appointments. This fine-tuning allows your orthodontist to control the force applied to your bottom jaw based on your progress.

What is a Herbst Appliance?

Like the MARA appliance, the Herbst device attaches to the four molars on the top and bottom jaws. However, unlike the vertical elbow joints of the MARA, the Herbst appliance uses two metal pistons that attach to the bottom jaw in a way that applies gentle force to push it forward.

As the patient develops, the bottom jaw readjusts to this forward position. This allows the Herbst appliance to remodel your bite to conform to the position of your top jaw.

Since these appliances are cemented to your teeth, you don’t have to worry about wearing them for a certain number of hours per day. Appliances like the Herbst are great for kids who haven’t finished puberty because their jaw structures are more malleable at that age. They will be more receptive to the changes as a result.

MARA Appliance vs Herbst: Which is Better?

The MARA and Herbst appliances both encourage the lower jaw to reposition itself closer to the upper arch. This promotes a healthy bite that can even change the patient’s facial structure, preventing the eventual complications of an overbite, such as painful chewing, breathing issues, gum diseases, generalized jaw pain, and speech impediments.

The devices are also similar in that they are cemented to four back molars and connect the upper and lower arch with metal joints that push the lower jaw forward. There are mechanical differences, however, that slightly change the effects they have.

For instance, the MARA appliance has been studied for its potential to rotate the upper jaw forward as well as flare the patient’s incisors compared to the Herbst. Since the devices can impact different structures, your orthodontist will look at the whole picture of your oral health profile, not just your lower jaw positioning, when choosing the right appliance for you.

There are other differences as well. The average treatment time for the Herbst appliance is 12 months, while the MARA appliance usually takes 15-18 months. The cost of the devices varies widely between providers since they are often add-ons to the patient’s braces.

This is because overbites are often caused by misaligned teeth in addition to a misplaced lower jaw. Ask your provider how much the appliances will cost you.

Note that both the MARA and Herbst appliances function as replacement treatments for dental headgear, which can cost much more and be much more intrusive. When it comes to comparing the two devices, ask your orthodontist which appliance best suits your situation.

Choose Reese Orthodontics

If you’re an adult who is considering braces, you need professional advice on your treatment and payment options. For orthodontic treatments in Charleston, SC, Reese Orthodontics offers the latest technology and treatment plans. Our advanced and comfortable orthodontic treatments can be customized to suit your needs. A consultation with Reese Orthodontics includes scans, a comprehensive exam, and a conversation with the orthodontist to discover which treatment options are right for you.

Schedule an appointment with us today to stay ahead of your oral health and receive the best possible treatment in your area.

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Easy Ways To Get Started

If you want to learn more about our orthodontic practice - where we offer extensive experience with a Board Certified Orthodontist, where we offer a satisfaction guarantee, and where we offer flexible payment options - Reese Orthodontics is here to serve you.

"Dr. Reese and staff share an inviting personality with a clean and professional atmosphere. I am very happy with the service, the product and the final result. I would encourage any of my friends and family to consult with Dr. Reese around their Orthodontic needs."
- Austin H.
"It has been a great experience all around getting braces at Dr. Reese Orthodontics. It's a great office with wonderful and friendly staff. I am extremely happy with the results. Can't say enough good things about Dr. Reese and his staff. I highly recommend him!"
- Nicole S.
"Dr. Reese and his staff was referred to me by a friend, and I highly recommend them! They were friendly, professional, helpful and quick to respond. I could not be happier with the results of Invisalign. I wore them about 7 months and my teeth are as straight as can be. Thank you for the great care and results!"
- Dancy E.
"I chose the absolute perfect orthodontist to perfect my smile. Dr. Reese has a personality that calms you and removes the anxiety that may come with the process. Dr. Reese is a true artist. I am so excited with my new smile. Dr. Reese accomplished the goals I was looking for and I am forever grateful. Thank you Dr. Reese!!!"
- Melanie C.
"Just awesome! Dr. Reese is the one to go to. He knows what he's doing and is great at what he does. Makes you feel like family every time you go visit. I can't get over how great my smile looks now. Definitely recommended."
- Harsha P.
*The reviews listed are from actual patients of Reese Orthodontics.
Individual results may vary. Reviews are not claimed to represent results for everyone.
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Our Charleston
Orthodontic Office

2057 Charlie Hall Blvd. STE D
Charleston, SC 29414


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Dr. Reese McElveen, our award-winning orthodontist in Charleston, South Carolina has transformed the smiles of over 11,000 patients. Reese Orthodontics offers the most advanced orthodontic care for children and adults. Types of braces and orthodontic treatment include metal braces, clear braces, gold braces, Invisalign, Invisalign Teen, Damon Braces, SureSmile. Dr. Reese can even help you achieve your confident smile faster with AcceleDent.

Call 843.573.7279 today to schedule your appointment with our board certified orthodontist in Charleston, SC, at our conveniently located Charleston orthodontic office. Come experience Reese Orthodontics and you will see for yourself that we offer innovative and effective orthodontic care in Charleston, Downtown Charleston, West Ashley, James Island, Mount Pleasant, North Charleston, Johns Island, Goose Creek, Hanahan and Ladson, South Carolina (SC).