You may have seen friends, family or television characters wearing devices on their face that connect to their braces and wondered what on earth they were wearing. Well, chances are it was something called orthodontic headgear, or more commonly referred to as simply headgear.
So, what is headgear, anyway - and why do doctors and dentists prescribe it? Here’s all you ever wanted to know about this beneficial orthodontic device.
What Is Headgear?
Simply put, headgear is an orthodontic device that connects to the braces to help stop the top jaw from overgrowing, causing what is known as an overjet. An overjet is basically a severe overbite, where the top teeth protrude, causing the top teeth to sit over the bottom teeth. There are also bites called reverse overjets (also treated with headgear) that occur when the lower teeth protrude farther out than the upper teeth.
To correct this, headgear is attached to the braces by hooks and rubber bands, holding back the teeth in treatment. For best results, patients must wear headgear for a minimum of 12 hours a day, and in some cases up to 22 hours a day - or just enough time to take off for meals and teeth brushing.
What Are the Types of Headgear?
There are three main parts to headgear – the facebow, the attachment and the head cap. The facebow connects via a metal piece to the headgear and sits around the face, going directly into the mouth. The head cap is the piece that actually secures the device to the head. It can be made of springs or elastic and attaches to the facebow. Last, the attachment connects the facebow to the head cap via either springs or rubber bands.
Do People Still Use Headgear?
Headgear is rarely used anymore because smaller, more comfortable and less complicated devices have been developed in recent years. However, headgear is still considered one of the most useful tools in the orthodontic arsenal.
To learn more about orthodontic options, contact Dr. Lederman's office at 516-882-1764.