Many of our patients wear headgears during their treatment. The headgear works by putting gentle force on your upper back teeth to push them back. This improves the bite of your back teeth and gives room for the upper eye teeth to come in. There are bands on the upper six-year molars that are cemented in place. The head gear fits into these bands.
The headgear should be worn about 14 hours per day. This means it is only worn when you are at home, and when you go to bed. It is never worn at school.
How to Clean your Head Gear
Be sure to keep all parts of the headgear in the case when it is not being worn. This will prevent it from being lost or distorted. The metal face bow can be cleaned with a toothbrush as needed or by rinsing it under the water. The head cap and neck strap should not require any special care, other than changing the elastics on the head cap each week to ensure that they keep their elasticity.
Remember that the bands on the teeth are also part of the appliance, and they need to be cared for, so be sure to brush well around the bands.
What you can eat
In order to prevent the bands from loosening, you should avoid the following foods:
Nuts, Caramels, Taffy, “Jube-Jubes”, Bubble Gum (Sugarless Gum is okay), and also avoid chewing on pens, ice cubes or hard candy.
What to do if a band becomes loose
You should be able to tell if a band becomes loose. It is important to call and make an appointment to re-cement the band as soon as you notice it is loose. A loose band can irritate the gums around it, and can allow food to become trapped under it, which could increase the risk of cavities.
What to expect with your head gear
When the headgear is worn for the first little while it is normal to feel pressure on the molars. If needed you can take a pain reliever such as Advil. After the first week or so of wearing it, it becomes much more comfortable, so don’t give up if it feels a little funny at first.
Please remember to bring your head gear with you at each visit so that it can be adjusted if needed.