Problems & Treatments > Orthodontic Headgear
Getting Into Gear: Orthodontic Headgear

Headgear is a general name for a type of appliance that creates special forces for guiding the growth of your face and jaws. We also use headgear to move your teeth into better position or to prevent them from moving when they're not supposed to. Because each case is different, we will determine the amount of time you'll need to wear your headgear.

Here are two common types of headgear:

The "Facebow" type consists of a bow that fits into braces on your back teeth and a strap that fits behind your neck or over your head to provide the desired amount and direction of pressure.

The "J Hook" type uses two individual wires with loops on their ends that attach to your braces. The wires are attached to a strap that fits over your head or behind your neck to supply the desired corrective pressure.

The type of headgear used in your treatment is what your orthodontist believes is best to guide your teeth and jaws into their new positions.

At first, your headgear may look a little strange to you, and it will seem a little awkward. But it's a necessary part of your orthodontic treatment. Rest assured the healthy, beautiful smile that will be yours for a lifetime will be well worth the effort you make now.

 


To get the best results from your headgear, follow these simple guidelines:

  • Make sure to wear your headgear as directed. It only works when you wear it!
  • Always closely follow our instructions for wearing your headgear. If you do, you'll finish this part of your treatment as quickly as possible and with the best results.
  • Always be careful and remove your headgear as you were taught. If you remove the headgear carelessly, the part that fits in your mouth and attaches to your teeth could injure your cheeks, lips, face or even your eyes.
  • Be sure to remove your headgear before you begin running or playing sports, including rough-and-tumble games. Accidents can happen even when you're just having fun.
  • Be careful to prevent anyone from grabbing or pulling on your headgear. Brothers, sisters or friends who don't wear headgear may not understand the dangers involved, even in play.
  • Take your headgear with you to every appointment.
  • We will give you instructions on the care and cleaning of your headgear. To keep the appliance working as it should, be sure to follow those instructions carefully.

Your teeth may be tender or even slightly loose the first few days you wear your headgear. This tenderness is normal and will disappear as you adjust to this new part of your treatment. If you continue to be uncomfortable for more than a few days, be sure to let us know.

© 2002 American Association of Orthodontists