Here you will find the
answers to some common questions about headgear.
What does headgear do?
Headgear is worn to move the back teeth further back in order to create
extra space; or to stop the back teeth from moving forwards and keep them
in their present position, whilst the front teeth are being straightened.
If you don’t wear your headgear as instructed, it may mean that your front
teeth will be left sticking out at the end of treatment! Headgear also
helps you achieve the best possible bite between your upper and lower
Is there any special care
involved for safe use of headgear?
Yes! Your orthodontist has shown you how to put the headgear on, and how
to take it off in the surgery. We would like to remind you of these
- Always remember to wear
the white ‘safety strap’ with your headgear.
- Make sure the hooks on
the ends of the inner arms of the facebow are correctly engaging at the
back of the molar bands.
- Always remove the safety
strap and the headgear straps before removing the metal facebow. Never
remove your headgear in one go by taking out the facebow first and
pulling the headgear over your head.
- Never wear your headgear
when playing physical games or sports.
- If any part of your
headgear becomes detached easily regularly, stop wearing your headgear,
and contact your orthodontist so that it can be adjusted.
- In the past, there have
been very rare reports of eye injuries occurring while wearing headgear.
If this happens, treat it like a medical emergency. Go to your local
hospital Accident & Emergency Department to see an eye specialist as
soon as possible.
- Report any problems with
your headgear to your orthodontist.
How much headgear wear do I need?
- Wear your headgear for
the number of hours per day specified by your orthodontist. This may
vary from 8 to 14 hours each day. We don’t expect you to wear your
headgear outside home; but if you have to miss a few hours of headgear
wear for any reason, try to make up for it another time, perhaps at the
weekend. You need to maintain the same average number of hours of
headgear wear each week. We suggest you keep a daily chart of your
headgear hours to help you wear it successfully.
- One usually needs to
wear headgear for only part of the total treatment duration. This varies
depending on your orthodontic problem. The more you stick to the rules,
the sooner your headgear does its job, and the sooner you can stop
Will it be painful?
- It will take you a few
days to adjust to wearing your headgear. Sleeping with it may also be a
little awkward for the first few nights.
- Your teeth may be tender
and a little loose for 3 or 4 days. Do take mild painkillers if you feel
you need to. You can take what you might normally take for a headache;
but please read the instructions on the packet regarding how much you
- The discomfort will
disappear after a few days as you get used to the new forces on your
teeth, so please don’t be discouraged. If you stop wearing headgear
because of the initial discomfort, when you start once more, you will
have to go through the whole thing again!
Can I eat, drink or brush my
teeth with headgear on?
No. You must remove your headgear.
Do I need to bring my headgear
with me to every appointment?
Yes. Your orthodontist will often need to either check or adjust your
headgear. If you have any problems with your headgear, especially if parts
of the headgear detach easily, you must stop wearing it. Contact the
practice for an emergency appointment as soon as reasonably possible, and
make sure you bring all parts of your headgear with you.