What about Headgear?
Article by HGS Ortho.
What is the purpose of the headgear?
Headgear is worn to move the back teeth, or to keep them in their present position whilst the front teeth are being straightened. Headgear is also used to restrain (hold back) the growth of the upper jaw and allow the lower jaw to reposition forward and “catch up” in its growth to the upper jaw. In this way both closed bites and overbites are corrected in combination with orthodontic braces. Failure to wear the headgear as instructed may mean your front teeth will be left sticking out at the end of treatment!
Are there any special instructions I need to know?
Yes. You will have been shown how to put the headgear on and off whilst at the surgery. The important points to remember are:
* Remove the headgear before the inner bow. Never remove or fit the headgear in one piece by pulling the headgear over the face/ head.
* Do not wear headgear while playing sports or rough games.
* At night, always ensure that the safety mechanism(s) are in place to prevent accidental removal of the headgear and face bow.
* If any part of the appliance becomes detached during sleep, stop wearing the headgear and contact your orthodontist.
* Very rarely, eye injuries have occurred whilst wearing headgear. If this should happen, it must be treated as a medical emergency. Attend your local Accident and Emergency Department for an ophthalmic opinion as soon as possible.
* Bring your headgear to each appointment and report any problems to your orthodontist.
Will it be painful?
Your teeth may ache for about 3-5 days after the headgear has been fitted. If necessary, mild painkillers such as the ones you would normally take for a headache, may help (please read the instructions on the packet regarding dosage). Do not stop wearing the headgear because of toothache, otherwise you will have to go through the discomfort all over again when you start wearing it once more.
How long do I have to wear the headgear?
It is important for you to wear the headgear for the number of hours specified to you. If you do not wear it for the correct number of hours, it will not be possible to complete your treatment successfully.
Can I eat with the headgear on?
No, it will not be possible for you to eat and drink with the headgear in place.
What about tooth brushing?
It is important you brush your teeth well, three times per day and use a fluoride toothpaste. You should remove the headgear to brush your teeth.
What do I do if I have problems wearing the headgear?
If you have any problems with the headgear e.g. the headgear comes off during the night, or the headgear metal face bow will not stay in place:
Ring up for an appointment as soon as is reasonably possible. Do not wait for your next scheduled appointment and make sure you bring all the parts of the headgear with you.