When Is Headgear Used?
It is almost very orthodontic patient’s nightmare that their bite alignment will involve having to wear headgear. Many people are confused as to why some people wear them at all, and what they are supposed to do. Headgear is very rarely used at all, but when it is, it is only if there is a correction of a very severe problem. It is only used in the correction of an overbite, which is a very rare condition. Although most people have a slight overbite, it is rare for an overbite to be so severe that a simple brace cannot take care of it. The headgear essentials is attached to the braces, and pulls the teeth and the jaw itself back, thus correcting the overbite.
The overwhelming majority of the time, headgears are used in the treatment of adolescents. Any orthodontic treatment that takes place happens after the 2nd molars have erupted. It is simply not advisable to begin orthodontic treatment before then, except if there is a condition so severe that it is debilitating. A treatment plan involving the use of headgear should be started as soon as possible, so ideally the treatment would begin as close to the eruption of the second molars as possible. The reason is twofold, first of all, the headgear needs to be worn for at least 14v hours a day, but for as long as possible, and in adult life that may be much more complicated than when a person is still attending school. The second is because the bones of adolescents respond quicker to orthodontic stimulus, and the teeth move more readily in the jaw bone, thus making this period of life the ideal time to get orthodontry.
This isn’t to say that adults cannot get headgear to correct a severe and potentially painful and even debilitating overbite. It’s just that it will be much more difficult to do so. Dentists usually advise adult patients to wear headgear for as long as possible, and if it can be worn for 24 hours, that is best. However, many adults simply cannot wear it during work hours, or are embarrassed to. The other problem is that it will take more time to move teeth around in the jawbone of an adult, as the bone is harder, more calcified, and teeth move about in it with much more difficulty.
That is not to say that you should not get them, if you you didn’t as an adolescent. You might have not had the funds or the time necessary as a child to get it, there may be a million reasons why it was simply not possible as a child, but if your means make it so that you can now afford and are physically in good enough shape to handle wearing headgear, than you should go ahead and do it as soon as possible. Remember, these headgears are only used in extremely severe cases of overbite, and this condition can eventually lead to neck, head and jaw pain, and may even result in TMJ syndrome, a terribly painful condition. If your orthodontist has advised that you get headgear, you should definitely invest in getting it, and the sooner you go through the treatment, the sooner you can get rid of it, too!