Ortho Appliances - Lip Bumper

A lip bumper is a dental appliance used in dentistry for various purposes. Lip bumpers are often used in orthodontic treatment plans when the patient has crowded maxillary or mandibular teeth in the arch. A lip bumper is used to hold the lower molars back while allowing the lower front teeth to move forward. This proves space for overcrowded teeth. The bumper keeps the lower lip out of contact with the lower front teeth. Simultaneously, it places a force on the back teeth which prevents them from moving forward. It is commonly an alternative to teeth extraction

A lip bumper is a wire which is partially coated in plastic and slides into two metal molar bands at either end. When in place, it lines the front side of the lower teeth. It removes pressure from the lip and cheek by essentially stretching or widening the arch of the lower jaw. Every time the wearer talks, laughs or smiles, the lip pushes against the bumper opposed to the teeth.

This push from the device also prevents the permanent molars from sliding forward as the primary teeth are lost and permanent teeth erupt. Because of this, lip bumpers are most effective if they are used before all of the primary teeth are lost.


A lip bumper can be used for expanding the teeth in the mandibular arch. In orthodontics, tooth-size discrepancy occurs when there is an issue with crowding. As a treatment, teeth are either extracted or expansion of the arch can be used in order to correct the tooth-size discrepancy. A lip bumper is placed in front of the anterior teeth in order to remove the pressure of the lips and cheeks from the front and back teeth. The lip bumper can be used to reduce lower anterior crowding, increase an arch circumference and move the permanent lower molars distally in order to maintain anchorage.

Specific changes that occur as a result of the appliance include adjusting the anterior teeth forward, tipping the molar teeth backwards and increasing the width of the arch that is formed by the lower teeth. The wire is kept 1.5 - 2.0mm from the front surface of the anterior teeth. Advances have recently been made for using lip bumpers with mini-screws for distalization of the upper back teeth.

A Korn lip bumper is a maxillary lip bumper that was created by Korn and Shapiro. This lip bumper includes .040in stainless steel wire and also involves multiple loops. The Korn lip bumper sits high in the maxillary vestibule and is about 2-3mm away from the attached gingiva. This type of bumper is often used in addition to a bite plate.

The lip bumper includes rubber tubing for added comfort and should be worn 24 hours a day. No one should be able to see the lip bumper or know you are wearing it. It should also not interfere with talking, eating brushing or other normal activities. When the lip bumper is initially placed, the inside of the lip and/or cheek may become irritated and red. There should not be any pain associated with the lip bumper.


The side-effects from lip bumpers can include a possible disruption in the eruption pattern of the second molars in the mandibular arch. The pressure of the lips on the lip bumper, can cause the first molar to tip distally and result in the impaction of the second molar.


The material components of lip bumpers include bands placed on the molar teeth, a thick stainless steel wire and a thick acrylic or rubber shield which is placed in the anterior part of the wire to prevent irritation on the lower lip.


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