Protraction headgear is a type of orthodontic appliance used to treat underbites. It works by pulling the upper jaw forward so it will grow faster than the lower jaw. In a patient with an underbite, the lower jaw is abnormally prominent. Protraction headgear will help give the patient a more normal profile. Treating the underbite can also improve the patient’s speech and ability to chew.
Protraction headgear consists of a metal frame that is attached to the patient’s braces by elastic bands. It is made of metal wires attached to pads that rest on the patient’s forehead and chin. It also often has straps that wrap around the patient’s head to help hold the appliance in place. Most patients have to wear the headgear for 12 to 18 months.
How Does It Work?
The orthodontist will fit the headgear to the patient’s braces and face. The patient will have to wear the headgear for 12 to 14 hours every day, which means they will wear it to bed every night. Since it takes time to get accustomed to the headgear, the patient may spend the first week working up to those needed twelve hours.
The patient should take the headgear off before eating or cleaning their teeth. They should not wear the headgear while playing sports, for they could damage the headgear or hurt their mouth. The patient should bring the headgear to every orthodontist appointment so that we can make sure that it is working properly.
What is Two-Phase Orthodontic Treatment?
Two-phase orthodontic treatment is designed to take advantage of children’s growth and the accompanying flexibility of their jaws that makes it easier to treat orthodontic problems that would require surgery in an adult. The first stage is sometimes called the “interceptive stage,” for the orthodontist works to correct jaw problems like an abnormally narrow palate. The second phase typically begins when the patient is in their early teens, and they will get their teeth straightened at this time.
Underbites are often treated during the first stage since they often indicate jaw problems, as well as dental issues. The orthodontist may prescribe protraction headgear as early as when the child is seven years old. However, it all depends on the situation.