Now that your orthodontist has recommended headgear as an important part of your treatment, it will help you to learn a little about it.

Headgear is a general name for a type of appliance that creates special forces for guiding the growth of your face and jaws. Orthodontists 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, the amount of time you’ll need to wear your headgear will be determined by your orthodontist.

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

  • Make sure to wear your headgear as directed by your orthodontist. It only works when you wear it!
  • Always closely follow your orthodontist's 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 into 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.
  • Your orthodontist 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 your orthodontist know.

Content Courtesy of the American Association of Orthodontists.

Headgear Instructions:

1) Headgear is to be worn a total of 12-14 hours a day. It can be worn for 3-4 hours in the evening in addition to all night.

2) Please make sure it is only worn during quiet times such as sleeping, reading, watching TV, playing video games or doing homework.

3) Bring the headgear with you every other visit for adjustments.

4) Always hold the facebow whenever you remove the headgear or when hooking on the strap.

5) “Bumps” in the facebow always point up towards the head.

6) When removing the facebow, use gentle side to side movements while squeezing it. Do not use a head-to-toe rocking motion.

7) Consistent, everyday wear is required to improve your bite. For example, wearing it 6 out of 7 nights a week will not get the results we need.

HELPFUL TIPS: If you are removing your headgear in your sleep without knowing it, you can wrap scotch tape around the hooks. Wrap the tape heavily on the side you never unhook and lightly on the other side so it is easy to remove.

If you put your headgear on in the evening, your teeth will adjust to the discomfort sooner and you will be less likely to remove it while sleeping.