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To analyse and compare the effects during Herbst treatment combined with a lingual (completely customized) or labial (straight-wire) multibracket appliance (MBA), with special regard to lower incisor gingival recessions.Eighteen Class II:1 patients [overjet ≥ 5mm, Class II molar relationship ≥ 0.5 cusp widths (CW) bilaterally or 1.0 CW unilaterally, median age 16.0 years] treated with a Herbst appliance in combination with a lingual MBA (group LINGUAL) were retrospectively matched (molar relationship and skeletal maturity) to 18 Class II:1 patients treated with a Herbst appliance combined with a labial MBA (group LABIAL). Study models and intraoral photographs from before and after treatment were evaluated regarding occlusal variables and gingival recessions. Lateral cephalograms from before, during (before and after Herbst), and after treatment were analysed to assess lower incisor changes.Both groups showed similar reductions of overjet (5.4/5.6mm), overbite, (2.9/2.7mm) and sagittal molar relationship (0.9/0.8 CW). During the Herbst phase, the changes in lower incisor inclination and incisal edge position were significantly smaller in the LINGUAL than in the LABIAL group (iiL/ML: +7.0/+12.7degrees, P = 0.002; ii-MLppg: +2.5/+3.9mm, P = 0.004). For the total treatment period, no significant differences were found (iiL/ML: +5.3/+8.6degrees; ii-MLppg: +2.1/+2.4mm). No clinically relevant gingival recessions were seen.Both treatment approaches successfully corrected the malocclusion. The group LINGUAL exhibited significantly less proclination during the Herbst phase only. Neither treatment approach induced deleterious gingival recessions.