Headgear is a removable orthopedic device generally used in adolescent patients during times of growth to treat discrepancies of growth in the upper or lower jaws. It is made up of two parts: a facebow and strap. The facebow is the portion that goes into the mouth and is inserted into the tube holes on the molar bands. There are several different types:
- High pull
- Reverse pull
Cervical and high pull headgear utilize a pushing force to hold the upper jaw back and allow for growth of the lower jaw, thus eliminating severe overbites. The reverse-pull appliance applies a pulling force/protraction directing growth of the upper jaw forward to correct underbites. In order to be effective, headgear requires a minimum 10-14 hours of consistent wear. However, a good rule of thumb to follow is to wear it anytime you are at home, including sitting and watching TV, after dinner, and at night while sleeping. Always make sure the headgear is being worn properly as per the doctor’s instructions. If headgear has been prescribed for you or your child, it should be brought to every appointment to ensure it fits and is being worn properly.