Using Headgear to treat an overbiteAn orthodontist may use headgear in growing patients to treat orthodontic problems in general, particularly, an overbite. Headgear for orthodontic use consists of a metal device, and by appearance looks similar to a computer microphone cum headphone. The metal arch that surrounds the head at two parts is connected through an extension dropping from either side of the ears and joining near the upper lip. In this manner, it applies pressure on the upper jaw in order to control the growth of the jaw. Headgear also brings the upper jaw to a level that is in tune with the lower jaw.
There are mainly two types of overbites. The first one is a vertical overbite. Here the top teeth will be overlapping the lower teeth. A horizontal overbite or overjet is seen when the top teeth jut out too much. It is quite possible for one patient to experience both these types of overbites at the same time.
The amount of time that headgear will have to be used totally depends on the condition of the overbite and the method of treatment by the orthodontist to treat it. As a normal rule, treatment can last from six to eighteen months. Your orthodontist will also require you to wear these for a required number of hours. That could be between ten to fourteen hours every day subject to the condition of the overbite and the orthodontist’s discretion. You must follow the directions that the orthodontist gives you.
Headgear is generally used on patients whose bones are still growing. If your child has been asked to wear headgear, then it is natural for him to feel discomfort, especially after wearing it for the first time. The soreness is going to remain for a few hours, and could last for many days. There are no hard and fast rules however, and every patient copes with headgear in his or her unique way.
There are many ways to combat this discomfort. Eat a soft diet. Have a discussion about pain control with your orthodontist. Your orthodontist will advise you to avoid taking off the head gear when the child complaints of pain and discomfort. The process of taking it off and putting it on can actually cause more pain and discomfort instead of relieving it. Besides, it does nothing for the child’s orthodontic treatment to have you remove his head gear time and again. There is also something called a “bite wafer” that can be of use. Ask your dentist about this. These products may not be readily available in the market. These new inventions are first marketed to dentists, which is why your dentist is in a better position to help you purchase these devices. With his expertise, your dentist can also advise you on the pros and cons of these instruments or medicines used to treat the discomfort that comes with headgear use.
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