Headgear? What’s That?
Sometimes braces alone aren’t enough to straighten a child’s teeth. Headgear is employed when an orthodontist determines that a youngster’s upper and lower jaws are misaligned enough to require headgear braces to move the jaws into positions that aren’t possible with the brackets and wires used in routine care. Headgear is the overall name for an external apparatus that uses particular forces to direct the growth of the face and jaw.
We at the office of Orthodontics Inc. utilize the most modern equipment and approaches in all orthodontic therapies to improve patients’ dental health and appearances. Based on each person’s specific needs, we give children and adults beautiful and healthy smiles that will last their lifetimes.
Headgear is used while a youngster’s bones in her (or his) jaw are still moving into place, before the bones have matured into their permanent positions. Retraction headgear draws the upper jaw in, while protraction headgear moves the upper jaw forward while directing and steadying the lower jaw. The type used depends on each patient’s needs.
The “facebow” and “J hook” styles are most common. The facebow is a strap that goes around the back of the neck and has a wire attached to the braces on the front teeth. The J hook is more involved. Wires attach to the braces and its straps are worn over the head and neck. How long someone must wear headgear depends on the degree to which the upper and lower jaws are crowded or misaligned.
The headgear equipment must be removed while sleeping, eating or engaging in sports or other physical activities because it could damage the mouth braces to which it’s attached.
As usual, people who wear metal or clear braces must be meticulous about their oral hygiene. Extra patience and efforts will protect their teeth from food particles, plaque, bacteria and sticky sugars that can cause cavities and gum disease. A dentist and orthodontist will provide meticulous instructions on the dental tools and techniques that a patient must use to keep teeth clean throughout his or her orthodontic treatment.
The experts at Orthodontics Inc. are eager to partner with you to align your or your child’s teeth and jaws for a healthy and beautiful smile. Please don’t hesitate to call us to schedule an appointment.