Orthodontic Headgear


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Often with young people having orthodontic work will require some form of external headgear to stall the growth of the upper jaw as the teeth develop.  Headgear will need to be worn for ten hours of the day in order to be effective and will be a long term treatment, lasting six to eighteen months depending on the circumstances.  Some people grow quicker than others and this can mean the treatment works faster.

Headgear can be used for adults too, although in these cases it is likely to be due to some form of extraction occurring and needing to prevent the other teeth from filling in the gap left.  If the teeth move forward then it can affect your bite and might lead to further dental problems.  Like children’s headgear adults will have to wear it as much as possible to achieve the desired effect – around eight hours per day. 

Maintaining Orthodontic Headgear

Once your headgear has been fitted you are likely to experience some form of discomfort and pain around your teeth generally when you are chewing or using your teeth.  This will dissipate in a few days, and can be controlled using regular painkillers such as ibuprofen.  It can also help to avoid solid foods for a few days after they are fitted or adjusted to avoid any unnecessary discomfort. 

Bite Wafers may sometimes these will be recommended by your dentist to help you to comfortably chew with your headgear on.  This is alike to a mouth guard and can help to avoid any pain as well as stimulating blood flow around the mouth. 

It is very unlikely that any pain you experience will continue for a prolonged period of time.  You may get small spells of discomfort as your teeth shift around and the brace and headgear rectify this.  This is likely to spread throughout your mouth as the headgear affects different areas.  Despite the pain you experience you mustn’t stop using the headgear as the quickest way to dispel the pain is to continue with the treatments. 

If you do remove the headgear the pain will quickly go, however when you put it back on it will be worse than before.


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Guide to Orthodontics