What is headgear?

This is a special type of attachment that uses the back of the head or neck as an anchor and attaches to a Removable Brace or Fixed Brace. It attaches via elastics which are changed regularly. These elastics deliver a force to the jaws as well as to the teeth. Mostly, it is used in the upper jaw although it is sometimes used in the lower jaw.

When is headgear used?

It can be used to slow down the growth of the upper or lower jaws and can also be used to move the teeth to a position that a normal brace cannot move them to. Headgear is sometimes used instead of tooth extraction to make room for straightening teeth or to reduce prominent front teeth.

What is headgear made up of?

There are usually 3 components. The headcap or neckstrap are made of fabric and are placed around the head or neck. This connects to the facebow which is made of metal. The facebow attaches to the brace via elastics.

Are there any alternatives?

Sometimes, teeth can be extracted rather than needing to use headgear. It is also possible to use Miniscrews instead of headgear if the circumstances are right. We will discuss this with you.

Must I wear the headgear all the time?

No. Headgear is designed to be worn part-time. We will discuss the number of hours you need to wear it. It will range from around 8 to 14 hours in a 24 hour period.

How often will I need to be seen by the orthodontist?

You will need to be reviewed every 6 to 8 weeks as the headgear will need to be adjusted. We also need to check that you treatment is progressing as planned. You should bring all the components of your headgear with you at each visit.

Are there any risks to headgear treatment?

As with all types of treatment, there are always risks. The greatest risk with headgear is injury. This is most likely to occur if the headgear is not placed properly or if it is worn while playing or engaging in sports. You should follow the instructions that are provided in the Headgear section of 'I Have Braces'.

How long will treatment with headgear take?

Treatment duration varies from around 6 to 12 months depending on the changes desired.