Headgear is a type of orthodontic treatment that may be used only in specific situations — usually, in the cases of serious problems like a pronounced overbite or underbite in children. For young patients with serious dental issues of this type, headgear can be truly life changing. After only months of wearing headgear, the smile can be dramatically improved in terms of both appearance and function. Many patients wonder whether headgear will be necessary in their situation. While the only one who can determine that with certainty is an experienced orthodontist, here is some information that may be helpful.
Who Needs to Wear Headgear?
Headgear may be needed for patients who need extra help with aligning teeth and realigning the jaw. In situations where braces can’t provide sufficient correction, headgear can provide the external support that allows a full correction to be made. A severe overbite, often coupled with major misalignment of the teeth and/or jaw, is the most common reason that patients may need to wear headgear today. While less common, severe underbites can also mean that patients may benefit from the use of headgear.
Most patients who wear headgear are young enough that their jaws are still developing. It’s far easier to correct alignment problems early in life, so most headgear patients are of pre-puberty age. Headgear is used for adults only in severe situations, and in fact it’s very rarely used in adults at all. Patients in the pre-puberty age group may benefit from the use of reverse pull headgear (commonly called a facemask.) This kind of headgear can often provide sufficient correction to allow young patients to avoid corrective surgical procedures when they’re older.
Is Headgear Really Necessary?
Headgear is often the best option for patients who are already experiencing serious bite issues even at a very young age. Parents often ask if it’s really necessary for their children to have headgear at such an early age. The answer to the question is simple: If your orthodontist recommends it, they’re doing so because they feel that correction of your child’s dental issues will be easier now than in the future.
Waiting to get headgear until later can essentially mean that you’re waiting until the problem has a chance to grow even more severe. In short — yes, it’s necessary if your orthodontist recommends it and if you want to give your child the best chance of a healthy and properly functioning smile.
Is the Headgear Worn Around the Clock?
This is one of the most common questions that orthodontists get regarding headgear, and you may be surprised at the answer. In most cases, patients don’t actually have to wear headgear around the clock. Depending on what your orthodontist recommends, your child may only need to wear headgear for around 10-14 hours each day.
If you’re worried about your child suffering from teasing and abuse at school due to headgear, put those fears to rest. In most cases, you and your orthodontist can work together to create a schedule that will allow your child to avoid wearing their headgear during school hours. However, it’s very important that you enforce the schedule for wearing the headgear as strictly as possible. To get the optimal level of correction, headgear must be worn precisely as it was prescribed by your orthodontist.
Need to Learn More About Headgear?
Headgear is very much an individual choice that’s based on your child’s specific orthodontic issues. The team at Melbourne Orthodontics in Melbourne, Florida is here to help. Dr. Chad R. Reddick is the owner, operator and orthodontist at Melbourne Orthodontics. He’s dedicated to the health and wellness of his patients and always believes in customizing care according to what you or your child needs.
Orthodontic treatment options at Melbourne Orthodontics include not only headgear but also options for all ages including traditional braces, ceramic braces, clear braces (Invisalign,) night guards, retainers, and surgery when it’s needed. Dr. Reddick is here for patients of all ages and he looks forward to helping you and your family members achieve straight and beautiful smiles. Contact the office anytime to arrange an appointment with Dr. Reddick.