Prescott Valley, AZ
The interesting thing about orthodontic work is that every case is different. Some cases are fairly similar to a general archetype and others may fall well outside what we normally see. When your child is receiving orthodontic work at Bradshaw Family Dental, we may see fit to apply headgear braces under certain circumstances. These braces require that headgear is worn to help properly align the jaw while simultaneously straightening teeth. But what is headgear, and how does it differ from the regular bracket and wire braces?
What is headgear?
The term “headgear” refers to the external appliances that are used to help guide the growth of the facial and jaw structures. Traditional bracket and wire braces can move teeth about using their neighboring teeth as anchors – setting the limit of movement for teeth using traditional braces at the limits of neighboring teeth. But what happens when we need to move teeth into positions that are outside the confines of neighboring teeth? We need to use structures outside the mouth to provide a supporting anchor system that we can use to leverage teeth into the areas of the jaw that they need to be.
We understand that even traditional braces can be somewhat stigmatizing for children, headgear is often seen as a very obvious source of stigmatization. For those who are worried about the stigma that comes along with headgear, we would like to point out that our application of these systems almost always needs not be worn during the day. Typically, your child will wear the headgear during the night so they can avoid the social discomfort of wearing headgear to school.
Situations That Require Headgear
There are two basic forms of headgear that are used in orthodontics. Retraction headgear (AKA Class II correction) is used to retract the upper jaw or retard its forward movement to prevent overbite. Protraction headgear (AKA Class III correction) is used to move the upper jaw forward while stabilizing the lower jaw.
We treat overbite with retraction headgear on a much more consistent basis than we treat other varieties of orthodontic cases. This is often done to create more space for incoming teeth when there is crowding.
Headgear is only applied to children and teens because it affects the facial structure while it is still growing. At a certain point, our facial structures stop growing and the only thing that can change the jaw is a surgical alteration.
How Headgear is Fitted
There are two different varieties of headgear, the facebow, and the J-hook. The facebow headgear has a single strap that wraps around the back of the head. J-hook style headgear use wires that attach to the braces and has straps that fit over the head and around the neck. Each type of headgear is applicable for different reasons and circumstances.
Your oral health and that of your children are important to us here at Bradshaw Family Dental. If you would like to schedule an appointment, please call us today at (928) 277-0076. We look forward to seeing your smile!