Headgear is used to provide anchorage to move teeth and alter the direction of growth of the upper jaw in growing individuals. The design will be different depending on the direction of movement needed.
Before you leave the office with your new headgear, we will instruct you how to:
- Put on and take off your headgear
- Adjust any head or neck straps you may have
- Adjust the tension to the optimal amount
- Use the safety release (if your headgear has one) and then put the straps back together
If you have any questions, be sure to ask us as soon as possible.
- Wear your headgear as instructed (usually at least 14 hours each day). There is often no maximum number of hours and the more you wear it, the faster it works. The hours don’t have to be consecutive and if you use the chart provided, you can keep track of the hours you wear it. If you don’t wear your headgear enough, your treatment will likely take longer or will not achieve the correct bite.
- Remove your headgear at meal times and when playing sports or other rough activities. If you can eat light snacks with it on, it will be easier to get more hours. When a quick drink is needed a straw is a helpful tool.
- When your headgear is not being worn, keep it in the case provided so that it does not get lost or broken. Keep it in a safe spot in your house, so that it can easily be seen and not forgotten about (e.g.: a particular table, counter top or desk).
- Bring your headgear to every appointment so we can check it, particularly repair appointments.
- If you’re usual sleeping position is to curl up (head to chest), it is a good idea to tighten your headgear by one hole at bedtime to maintain good tension, as your headgear can become looser when you sleep curled up.
- If your headgear doesn’t fit properly between scheduled appointments, call our office. We’ll schedule an appointment to adjust it correctly. If you just wait until your next appointment, you may need to wear the headgear longer than you expected.
- If your headgear has a cloth strap, the plastic parts can be removed so the cloth part can be put through the washer and let air dry.
Things you may notice:
- At first and after any adjustment your headgear may cause your teeth to be sore to chew on. That’s because the teeth are moving, which is our goal. Usually the tenderness lasts only a few days. Not wearing your headgear regularly enough will only make the tenderness last longer.
- As your headgear moves your back teeth, the headgear wire may get closer to your braces on your front teeth (if you have them) or your front teeth. The headgear should not touch your front braces or teeth and requires adjusting if that happens.
- If the outer wires press into your checks, they can be adjusted outwards (as long as you do not touch any of the wires that attach to the teeth), but take your headgear off to do this.