lip bumper on a plaster cast of teeth

Appliance Profile What is a Lip Bumper?

A lip bumper is a dental appliance that is a wire (partially coated in plastic) that slides into two metal molar bands at either end and lies in front of the lower teeth. It removes lip and cheek pressure from the teeth, allowing pressure from the tongue to have a positive effect on tooth positions and bone remodeling. The lip pressure on the bumper prevents the permanent molars from sliding forward as primary (baby) teeth are lost and permanent teeth come in. For this reason, lip bumpers are most effective if started before all the primary teeth are lost.

Frequent Questions Learn More About Lip Bumpers

The lip bumper has rubber tubing for your comfort and should be worn 24 hours a day. Unless you show it to your friends, nobody should even be able to tell you are wearing it. It should not interfere with normal movement, talking, eating, or brushing. When the lip bumper is first placed, the inside of the lip or the cheek may become irritated, causing some slight redness. If you experience any pain, call the office immediately.

Because the lip bumper is not tied in, it may become dislodged, causing the bar to slip out of the molar tubes. If this happens, gently reinsert one side at a time, making sure that the bumps are facing down towards the gums. Most patients learn to quickly slide it in and out in a day or two. If you are unable to get it back in place, please call the office.

The length of time that a lip bumper is worn is determined by the amount of crowding and the eruption of the permanent teeth. Most patients will wear a lip bumper for six to twelve months.

Ideally, the lip bumper should be removed while eating. However, it can be left in, but be sure to brush the lip bumper thoroughly every time you brush, as food can get caught underneath it. Avoid eating hard, chewy, or sticky foods. They will damage your lip bumper and/or cause your bands to come loose. This would necessitate additional trips to our office and add considerable time to your treatment length.