Orthodontic headgear is a type of orthodontic appliance attached to dental braces or a maxillary removable appliance that aids in correcting some bite problems. Dental headgear was commonly used some time ago. However, its use has been tapered today because there are equally good and far more acceptable options available, but for some cases a headgear might still be the best option.
|It was often found that children experienced major difficulties in wearing their headgear. The issues involved were substantially social. Young patients, when confronted with the prospect of wearing headgear, would be worried that it was like having a bit in their mouth.Wearing headgear is not much fun, but it may be essential for your treatment. Follow your orthodontist’s instruction exactly, and your treatment will be ended before you know it. The short-term sacrifice you make now will be well worth your healthy, eye catching smile.|
Sometimes, braces alone aren’t enough to move teeth into their proper position, or to correct problem with the bite or remedy troubled in the growth of the jaws. In those situations, your orthodontist may recommend the use of other appliances. Orthodontic headgear is the general term for an appliance, worn partly outside the mouth creating enough force to move the teeth properly and guide the growth of the face.
A key issue in using dental headgear is cooperation. The patient needs to provide excellent cooperation and ensure that the headgear is in place for the prescribed number of hours per day. These hours seldom number less than 16. A significant number of these hours can be accumulated while asleep, but there is daytime use also. Because each case is different, the amount of time you’ll need to wear your headgear will be determined by your orthodontist.Whichever type of headgear you’re wearing, there are some important things you should know. Probably the most essential one is this: In order for it to be effective, you must carefully follow instructions about wearing your headgear — that means putting it on each day for the time specified. If you wear headgear at night and you miss one night, you must make up the time the following day — otherwise, everything you’ve accomplished in the previous seven days of wear could be wiped out!
|Headgear is typically used in growing patients to orthopedically correct overjets by holding back the growth of the maxilla, allowing the mandible to catch up. Headgear needs to be worn approximately 10-14 hrs to be effective in orthopedic approach, usually anywhere from 6 -18 months depending on the severity of the malocclusion and how much a patient is growing.|
Headgear is also used in adults, but for a different reason. A typical scenario is a case where some teeth are romved, and anterior teeth are being retracted. When extraction spaces are being closed, the teeth behind the extraction space tend to move forward and the teeth in front of the space move backward. In such situations, to maintain the anchorage, the orthodontist will not want the posterior teeth to come forward. The headgear serves to maintain the anchorage. Orthodontists will want those cases to wear the headgear as much as possible. Realistically for most adults this might only be 8-10 hrs a day, but the more the better. In other words, for dental approaches, the best scenario would be continous wear of headgear for 24 hrs a day. You may remove the headgear only when eating your meals or brushing your teeth.
How to Use
Fitting your headgear
|To keep your orthodontic headgear working as it’s programmed, it’s important that you follow our instructions about care and hygiene. It’s normal to feel some discomfort as you’re getting used to wearing it. Fortunately, if you wear orthodontic headgear regularly, the discomfort usually goes away in a few days. Your orthodontist may recommend an over-the-counter analgesic like Ibuprofen, and/or a soft diet, to help you adapt.|
It’s also important that you learn how to put headgear on and take it off correctly and safely. To prevent accidents, don’t wear your headgear while running, swimming or playing contact sports. Remember to bring it with you every time you have an appointment at our office.
|Soreness of teeth when chewing, or when the teeth touch, is usual. Adults typically feel the soreness 12-24 hours later, but younger patients tend to react earlier, (e.g., 2-6 hours).|
Typically, soreness from the headgear and elastics will disappear after a few days, but it may continue for as long as a couple of weeks. Very few patients complain of having painful teeth essentially the whole time. Once the soreness is gone, it is not uncommon for soreness to flare up again, involving a few teeth. Then the soreness fades again. Soreness tends to leapfrog among different teeth at different times as a result of tooth movement.
The important key to the fastest relief of tenderness is to keep the wear headgear/elastics even though the teeth are a little painful. If you stop wearing the headgear or elastics, your teeth will feel better temporarily, but as soon as you resume wearing your headgear, the symptoms will reappear all over again.
Occasionally, you may also a little looseness in the first molars. This is normal, and it signals that the appliance is working correctly. However, if you feel unusual pain, find that the anchor band on your first molar (the one the headgear inserts to) has come loose, or notice that the headgear seems not to fit properly, it could show a problem. In that case, contact our office right away.
Removing your headgear
Types of Headgear
There are several different types of orthodontic headgear, each designed to work best in a specific situation. We will design a treatment program to address your individual needs, and select the most appropriate type of headgear; we will also instruct you on its use and care.
Cervical Pull Headgear
One common type of headgear is called the cervical pull type. This appliance has a U- shaped wire that attaches to the bands on your back teeth, and a strap that is worn behind your neck. This appliance is used to decline growth of the maxilla and facilitate growth of the mandible. This maneuver is typically recommended for growth modification of cases with mandibular deficiency during their growth period.
High Pull Headgear
A similar device is the high-pull headgear, which also has a wire connecting to the teeth, plus a strap that goes behind and over the head. This style of headgear is typically used to keep the maxilla not to grow more vertically. For instance, it may work in cases with gummy smile appearance during growth of the maxilla.
Straight Pull Headgear
The direction of force in this type of headgear is between high pull and cervical pull ones. It’s not so common due to its complexity. However, it may be recommended for those cases that orthodontist is going to distalize upper molars as much possible as bodily.