Orthodontic headgear? Is that even a thing anymore? Chances are you’re thinking of just about every teen movie from the 80’s, unless of course you were born within the last millennia. While the headgear of the 80’s isn’t a common treatment plan anymore, it’s certainly still around and used in specific cases.

What is headgear?

Headgear is an external appliance that works with and attaches to metal orthodontic braces to help correct a misaligned smile. Headgear is made up of individual wires that clips to the metal brackets of your braces and is attached to a strap that fits to the back of your head. This appliance is used in special cases where metal brackets, wires and aligners can’t finish the whole job.

When is it used?

Classic orthodontic headgear is still used to treat those with complicated issues that involve both bite and jaw alignment as well as tooth alignment. The purpose of the headgear is to not overcrowd the patient’s mouth and instead the exterior device is attached to the brackets of the traditional wire and brackets treatment, pulling the jaw into a corrective position.

Orthodontic advancements such as temporary implants have replaced the need for the classic headgear for many patients. The temporary implants, just like the headgear, help pull forward the jaw or hold it back allowing the misaligned or under-developed jaw to catch up in growth. The goal is to align the jaw to help correct the patients bite issue. If severe crowding is an issue, these implants may impact the effectiveness of the traditional braces and in these cases a patient would be eligible for the traditional orthodontic headgear.

What are the benefits?

For some patients, their orthodontic journey is more than just straightening their teeth. Correcting a patient’s jaw alignment and bite is paramount to a healthy smile. If you suffer from an overbite, underbite, or crossbite you are putting your oral health at risk. Think about your teeth like they are gears in a watch. When your teeth are straight and your jaw is aligned you are working on Swiss time. All those gears and sprockets fit perfectly together. Now imagine if some of those gears weren’t perfectly aligned, they’d rub together and it is only a matter of time before your watch breaks. The same thing happens with your teeth. A misaligned bite will cause your teeth to not properly line up which can cause a variety of issues such as jaw pain, TMJ, and poor oral hygiene leading to tooth decay, enamel erosion and gum disease.

At Bodine Orthodontics, we are here to answer any questions you may have about braces or headgear. Give us a call today!