Your dentist has suggested that you need to wear headgear. You may have some questions you would like answered.

What is headgear?

Headgear is an appliance that can be attached to your upper back teeth. It consists of a neck strap, head cap, or both, which connect to a metal bow (facebow) that can be fitted into either a fixed or removable brace.

Why do I need to wear headgear?

Headgear is worn to either move the back teeth backwards to create more space or to prevent them from moving forward while the front teeth are being straightened. It may help avoid the need for tooth extractions in some cases.

How long will I need to wear headgear?

This can vary from 8 to 14 hours per day, though it does not need to be continuous. You need to follow your dentist’s instructions. Wearing it every day, if possible, is key to success. The duration of headgear use during orthodontic treatment can range from a few months to the entire length of the treatment.

Will I need another brace?

You may be asked to wear a removable brace with headgears. It is also likely that you will have a fixed brace to straighten your teeth either at the same time as the headgear or at a later stage.

Will headgear be painful?

Your teeth may be sore for 3-5 days after the headgear is fitted and may feel slightly wobbly. If it is painful, use simple painkillers such as those you would normally take for a headache – please follow the instructions on the packet. The facebow and neck strap can rub at first, but this should only last a few days. Inform your dentist if the headgear is rubbing so it can be adjusted if necessary.

Are there any special instructions?

Yes, safety is very important, especially when putting it on and taking it off. Your dentist will show you how to fit and remove the headgear. Follow these instructions carefully. Important points to remember are:

  • Very rarely, eye injuries have occurred while wearing headgears. If this happens, it must be treated as a medical emergency. Go to your local Accident and Emergency department immediately.
  • Always remove your headgear-straps before the facebow.
  • Never remove or fit the headgear in one piece by pulling it over your face/head.
  • Do not wear it during contact sports or rough play.
  • Ensure that the safety mechanisms of the headgear and facebow are in place to prevent accidental removal.
  • If any part of your headgear comes off during sleep, stop wearing it and contact your dentist for an appointment as soon as possible. Do not wait for your next routine appointment.
  • Bring your headgear to every appointment and inform your dentist of any problems.

What about tooth brushing?

You should remove the headgear to brush your teeth. Brush your teeth for at least 2 minutes twice a day using fluoride toothpaste. If possible, carry a brush with you to use after lunch. To further protect your teeth, use an alcohol-free fluoride mouthrinse daily at a different time from when you brush your teeth. Avoid eating or rinsing for 20 minutes after use. Sugary snacks/drinks and poor cleaning of your teeth and appliance will lead to permanent damage to your teeth.

Can I eat with the headgear on?

No, you will need to remove it at mealtimes.

How often do I need an appointment?

You will need regular appointments (about every 6-8 weeks) to review the progress. Always bring your headgear with you to every visit.

Do I still need to see my regular dentist?

Yes, it is important to continue having check-ups with your regular dentist throughout orthodontic treatment to check for tooth decay. Book your appintment via WhatsApp

Things to remember

  • The more you wear the headgear, the better the result will be.
  • Follow your dentist’s instructions for putting on and removing the headgear.
  • Contact your dentist as soon as possible if the headgear is broken or comes off at night.
  • Brush your teeth for 2 minutes at least twice a day.

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