The headgear is an extraoral (external) appliance worn by children with excessive growth of the upper jaw compared to the lower jaw. The upper teeth then protrude outwards and there is no room to accommodate posterior permanent teeth. In some cases, it can be also worn by adults.
The headgear is the first part of a comprehensive two-stage treatment of malocclusion characterised by excessive growth of the upper jaw, maxilla and/or insufficient growth of the lower jaw, mandible. It is followed by a fixed appliance, while some patients continue to wear the headgear simultaneously with fixed braces. When worn properly, the headgear exerts forces that have both a skeletal and a dental effect. In other words, the headgear inhibits the growth of the maxilla by simultaneously moving the teeth backwards, which opens a space for the eruption of teeth that would otherwise remain “blocked” in the bone. Additionally, by moving the upper posterior teeth backwards and by inhibiting the growth of the upper jaw, it creates space for the movement of the upper front teeth “backwards”, which follows during fixed appliance phase. The headgear combined with the fixed appliance dramatically improves the facial appearance and eliminates the need for tooth extraction to the great satisfaction of the child, parents and orthodontist.