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Home Beauty & Style Orthodontic Headgear: A Complete Overview

Orthodontic Headgear: A Complete Overview

Everyone appreciates a beautiful smile regardless of the place and situation. This explains the upsurge of people looking to fix their teeth and maintain good oral health. And when clear aligners and braces need a boost, orthodontists turn to headgear.

These orthodontic headgears help to correct the malocclusion.  This is a medical term meaning crooked teeth or a poor bite. Overbite, underbite, crossbite, and overcrowding are also symptoms of misaligned teeth.

Braces alone aren’t always enough to shift teeth into a healthier position. Also, they may not repair a bad bite, or straighten a misaligned jaw. Thus the use of orthodontic headgear.

A headgear is worn partly outside the mouth. It applies enough force to shift teeth and govern the growth of the face and jaws. Let us find out more about this effective oral health treatment.

What is Orthodontic Headgear?

These are orthodontic devices that extend beyond the mouth to straighten the smile. Orthodontic headgear comes in various shapes and sizes.  But they all operate to shift teeth into their proper places.

The shape of the jaw will conform to the best position. It exacts gentle pressure to the teeth via orthodontics supported by headgear. As a result, we have an aligned smile complimented by a lovely set of teeth.

We will take a deeper look at the various parts that make up headgear. Also, the types, and benefits of wearing orthodontic headgear. Read on as we explore the fantastic world of this corrective dental procedure.

Components of Headgear

The Facebow

The facebow (referred to as J hooks) is a band that runs around the exterior of the mouth. It links to bands on the upper and lower molars. These wires extend across the face and into your mouth.

The Headcap

The headcap is made up of straps that gently and securely fasten the facebow to the head.


Rubber bands, elastic bands, or springs connect the facebow to the headcap. It ensures the proper pressure is applied to the head, and it moves the jaw into the desired position.

Other Accessories

Retainers, power chains, and lip bumpers are all used to keep teeth in place. they also help to change the placement of the teeth and provide room for bottom teeth.

How Does Orthodontic Headgear Work?

Headgear is used to correct a range of chomp issues caused by misaligned jaws. But how is such a simple device meant to do such a goliath fete? Here’s how.

The neck strap secures the device to the patient’s face or head. The orthodontic headgear works by applying pressure to either the upper or lower jaw. It then helps correct overcrowded or overlapping teeth by creating space between teeth. The outcome is a well-aligned smile.

The dentist will change the pressure on the headgear at frequent appointments. This may trigger tooth or jaw pain when the angle is adjusted, or the tension is raised. Your orthodontist will determine how long you will keep the headgear.  This is after you meet the number of hours your orthodontist recommends.

Types of Orthodontic Headgear

Orthodontic headgear comes in various styles.  Each is designed to perform in a particular circumstance. Your orthodontist will devise a treatment plan that is tailored to your specific requirements. And the most appropriate form of headgear to meet those requirements.

There are three basic types of orthodontic headgear in general; cervical pull, high pull, and facemask.

Cervical Pull Headgear

A cervical pull is applied to treat a class II malocclusion. It is characterized by an overjet or overbite.

Overbites occur when the upper front teeth overlap the lower front teeth. An overbite is a misalignment of the teeth that requires more than braces to rectify. An overjet is a malocclusion that requires a cervical pull to rectify. It is commonly referred to as buck teeth.

The intensity of an overjet or overbite varies among patients. Some are minor and go unnoticed, while others are more extreme thus pronounced. These conditions alter your look, making it problematic to chew, drink, and bite. Overjet can also cause discomfort in the jaws, making it difficult to seal your lips completely.

A person with this condition may develop speech issues. It may also cause you to bite your tongue or the inside of your cheeks often.

So how does a cervical pull help correct this type of malocclusion? U-shaped wire hooks to the rings on your back teeth and a strap is placed behind the neck with cervical-pull headgear. When the lower jaw moves forward, the appliance maintains the patient’s top teeth and jaw in place.

High Pull Headgear

A high pull headgear hooks to the rear of the head to remedy an overbite, like cervical headgear. It’s frequently employed when someone has an open bite. It is worn for 12 – 14 hours daily.

This malocclusion has a specific characteristic: The top and bottom teeth do not contact when the mouth is closed.

Wondering what the difference is between an overbite and an overjet? The top teeth will extend over or in front of your lower teeth in both situations. But an overjet is when the upper teeth project at an angle past the lower teeth.

So, there is no angle with an overbite. The teeth stay straight or downward even though the top teeth protrude over the bottom teeth.

Facemask aka Reverse Pull Headgear

The reverse pull headgear helps correct an underbite. It applies pressure in the opposite direction to move teeth forward. The upper jaw is gradually pulled forwards (rather than back), closing the gap with the lower jaw.

A vertical frame connects two pads, one on the forehead and the other on the chin. The pulling force is generated by elastics or wires that link the frame to the braces. The device may need to be worn for 14-16 hours each day.

Uses of Headgear

These extra-oral appliances are devices that help rectify malocclusion. Headgear is frequently used in conjunction with braces to improve tooth alignment.

There are some circumstances in which such a device can assist shift the jaw. But, headgear is used in orthodontic therapy to help move the teeth and change the jaw’s alignment.

This type of headgear fails to conform to the standards of today’s fashion. But, there are particular advantages to your oral health.

Who Needs Headgear?

Initially, I thought that this type of orthodontic treatment is only for children. I mean, I considered the procedure a remedy of the 90s and had no room in today’s world. But I have since learned this line of thought is

Children aged nine and up are the most prevalent users of headgear. The jaw and bones of a youngster are quickly growing at this age. Headgear can prevent the need for jaw surgery later in life by adjusting jaw anomalies early on.

Adults with a poor bite or misaligned smile are also eligible candidates for orthodontic headgear. The worry is that by adulthood, growth is drastically slowed.  Meaning it’s more challenging to correct dental malocclusions. Grown-ups may have to wear the device for longer to achieve desired results.

Can You Sleep With Headgear?

Yes, you can! Most orthodontists support sleeping with your headgear. For kids, this is the best time because they are resting. They interfere less with the apparatus. It also helps with patients who are apprehensive about wearing the appliance to work or school.

When you’re wearing orthodontic headgear, one of the notable differences to everyday life is when it’s snooze time. Sleeping with a headgear brace can be uncomfortable, especially during the first few weeks.

As soon as you get it, headgear suddenly poses a challenge during bedtime. At the same time, changing your favorite sleeping posture is a challenging task. We are all creatures of habit, and how we sleep is indicative of this. Once we find our ideal position, we automatically position ourselves in the same manner as soon as one enters the bed.

Adjusting your sleeping position may need a mixture of training, the use of mechanical or electrical equipment. Also, the correct choice of beddings.  You might have to combine these methods for the greatest effect.

Typically, as you sleep, the face bows exert unequal pressure on the face and jaw. If you sleep facing downwards or sideways, we believe the transition to sleeping with orthodontic headgear is tough.

So how do you overcome the discomfort?  The orthodontist may recommend wearing your headgear at night for more effective results. Simple, get a pillow specially made for people with orthodontic headgears.

A distinctive aspect of a headgear pillow is the gap in the center of the pillow. It helps patients sleep better when wearing dental braces and headgear.

Most orthodontic pillows are manufactured with a soft cotton-poly cover to cushion the head while sleeping. They are filled with 100 percent fresh polyester fiberfill material. This ensures the orthodontic equipment does not push your teeth eliminating discomfort.

How To Care For Your Headgear?

It’s necessary to observe your orthodontist’s appliance maintenance and cleaning recommendations. It helps to keep your orthodontic headgear operating correctly and preserve your oral health. It’s also critical that you learn how to correctly and safely put on and remove a helmet.

Also, remember to bring your headgear with you to all appointments. But, leave it at home when you’re engaging in particular physical activities. More specifically:

  • Brush your teeth much more regularly than you did before the procedure.
  • Use dental floss to get rid of any food particles stuck between teeth.
  • Clean the metallic part and rinse well.
  • Keep the straps dry. To remove any stains, wipe with a damp piece of cloth.
  • Detach the elastic strap from the bow first when removing your headgear. It helps to protect your eyes and reduce stress on the appliance.
  • Always remove your headgear when you play sports.

Foods To Avoid

Orthodontic headgear braces are a form of dental treatment, meaning you have to observe a somewhat strict diet. Certain foods and drinks are detrimental to the health of your teeth. Overindulgence in them could potentially ruin the smile you’re trying to achieve in the first place. Some of the foods orthodontists recommend you avoid include:

  • Hardy foods like hard candy and nuts
  • Sticky treats. Think chewing gum or caramel
  • Chips, ice, popcorn, and all other crunchy snacks
  • Foods that involve biting like carrots and corn on the cob.
  • Chewy delicacies like pretzels and licorice are chewy delicacies.

Drinks like cola, fresh fruit juice, and carbonated beverages should not be drunk since they contain sugar. Such beverages can harm dental enamel, increasing the risk of decay and erosion. These substances may discolor your brackets as well. You will not go wrong if you stick to water and milk as much as possible.

Is Orthodontic Headgear Painful?

Expect some form of soreness after the installation of headgear.

There is a brief time for a change, like with any medical apparatus. As the body adjusts to the device, the teeth may suffer some mild discomfort. The remedy?

Increase the patient’s amount of time with the device progressively. Start with 1 hour and increase by an hour every day. Do this until you are comfortable wearing it for the targeted amount of time.

Pain management is beneficial during the transition phase, although it is not required. The aim is to cut the patient’s level of discomfort rather than combat actual pain. You can use analgesics like acetaminophen, naproxen, or ibuprofen.

You may also notice some pain when chewing or a slight laxity in the mandibular teeth from time to time. This is typical and indicates that the gadget is functioning. Inspect to see whether the anchor band on your first molar (the one the headgear connects to) has come loose.

The Bottom Line

Misaligned teeth aren’t necessarily problematic. But, possessing an overjet, underbite, or overbite can have effects. It may affect speaking, eating, chewing, and drinking.

Consult your dentist if you’re having issues or don’t like the way your smile looks. They can recommend an orthodontist who’ll come up with a treatment plan that is suitable for you. One of the most preferred permanent methods involves the use of headgear and braces.

The dental specialist will recommend the appropriate type of headgear for your particular need. It can brighten your grin and increase your self-assurance.



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