Headgear is a device which can be attached to fixed appliances (braces) or, less often, to removable appliances (plates) to pull on the teeth and their supporting jaw. It is used in more severe malocclusions.
There are various types of headgear, with different directions of pull.
The most common type is worn around the back of the neck to pull backwards on the upper teeth (see picture).
If required, headgear can be worn on the back of the head to pull upwards and backwards.
Headgear is used most often to restrict forward growth of a prominent upper jaw in a growing patient. It is worn until the lower jaw has grown forward sufficiently to "catch up", the bite has been corrected, and a more-harmonious facial profile has been obtained.
Headgear is also used to:
- anchor the back teeth so that retraction of prominent front teeth can be maximised.
- move teeth backwards to create space for teeth further forward in the mouth.
Reverse pull headgear is worn on the front of the face and pulls forwards on the upper teeth. It is used when the top teeth and jaw need to be moved forward.
Headgear is usually worn at night.
However, the more it is worn, the more effective it is.