Headgear refers to any device used to help correct the growth of the jaws. Headgear can also be used to treat obstructive sleep apnea.
Orthodontic headgear is very straightforward to use and is used to apply force during the orthodontic treatment process. The orthodontist will prescribe the headgear and instruct you on how to use it properly at home. Usually, the patient is required to wear the headgear for one to two hours each day. Let’s take a look at the three different types of orthodontic head gears used in most treatment plans:
Headgear is an important appliance for the successful treatment of many malocclusions. There are a set of treatment goals that must be met first before any type of removable or fixed orthodontic appliances are recommended. A child’s mouth and jaw are usually growing and developing until the age of 12-14 years. This prolonged growth period increases the chances of developing certain bite problems.
The occlusion must be completely evaluated, and the skeletal relationships of the maxillary and mandibular teeth should be recorded for each arch.
If the child is too young for orthodontic treatment, the orthodontist may prescribe the use of a removable retainer to keep the space open until he or she is ready for braces or other appliances.
When the child is ready, the orthodontist will examine the occlusion again to determine if orthodontic treatment is required. During this examination, the orthodontist will check to see if the teeth are crowded if the jaws are aligned and if the teeth fit together properly when the mouth is closed. Insufficient space available in the dental arches may be a concern as well. In some cases, early extraction of baby molar teeth may be necessary to create enough space to align the teeth correctly and prevent crowding.
There are several different types of orthodontic appliances that can be used to correct a variety of malocclusions. Traditional braces are the most common type of appliance used to straighten teeth. They are made of high-grade stainless steel wires that fit around each tooth and are adjusted by the orthodontist at every visit to ensure proper alignment of each tooth. These braces can also be removed for cleaning and eating certain foods. Invisalign is another popular option. This is a series of clear plastic aligners that are custom-fitted to each individual patient’s smile for optimal comfort during treatment. This type of orthodontic device straightens the teeth without the use of any metal brackets or wires.