What does headgear do?
Headgear is worn to move the back teeth further back in order to create extra space; or to stop the back teeth from moving forwards and keep them in their present position, whilst the front teeth are being straightened.
If you don’t wear your headgear as instructed, it may mean that your front teeth will be left sticking out at the end of treatment!
Headgear also helps you achieve the best possible bite between your upper and lower teeth.
Is there any special care involved for safe use of headgear?
Yes! Your orthodontist has shown you how to put the headgear on, and how to take it off in the surgery. We would like to remind you of these points:
- Always remember to wear the white ‘safety strap’ with your headgear.
- Make sure the hooks on the ends of the inner arms of the facebow are correctly engaging at the back of the molar bands.
- Always remove the safety strap and the headgear straps before removing the metal facebow. Never remove your headgear in one go by taking out the facebow first and pulling the headgear over your head.
- Never wear your headgear when playing physical games or sports.
- If any part of your headgear becomes detached easily regularly, stop wearing your headgear, and contact your orthodontist so that it can be adjusted.
In the past, there have been very rare reports of eye injuries occurring while wearing headgear.
If this happens, treat it like a medical emergency. Go to your local hospital Accident & Emergency Department to see an eye specialist as soon as possible.
Report any problems with your headgear to your orthodontist.
How much headgear wear do I need?
Wear your headgear for the number of hours per day specified by your orthodontist. This may vary from 8 to 14 hours each day. We don’t expect you to wear your headgear outside home; but if you have to miss a few hours of headgear wear for any reason, try to make up for it another time, perhaps at the weekend. You need to maintain the same average number of hours of headgear wear each week. We suggest you keep a daily chart of your headgear hours to help you wear it successfully.
One usually needs to wear headgear for only part of the total treatment duration. This varies depending on your orthodontic problem. The more you stick to the rules, the sooner your headgear does its job, and the sooner you can stop wearing it!
Will it be painful?
It will take you a few days to adjust to wearing your headgear. Sleeping with it may also be a little awkward for the first few nights
Your teeth may be tender and a little loose for 3 or 4 days. Do take mild painkillers if you feel you need to. You can take what you might normally take for a headache; but please read the instructions on the packet regarding how much you should take.
The discomfort will disappear after a few days as you get used to the new forces on your teeth, so please don’t be discouraged. If you stop wearing headgear because of the initial discomfort, when you start once more, you will have to go through the whole thing again!
Can I eat, drink or brush my teeth with headgear on?
No. You must remove your headgear.
Do I need to bring my headgear with me to every appointment?
Yes. Your orthodontist will often need to either check or adjust your headgear. If you have any problems with your headgear, especially if parts of the headgear detach easily, you must stop wearing it. Contact the practice for an emergency appointment as soon as reasonably possible, and make sure you bring all parts of your headgear with you.