The purpose of traditional headgear is to help correct excess “overbite” (overjet) between your upper and lower teeth by inhibiting forward growth of the upper jaw, thereby allowing the lower jaw to “catch up”. It does this by using the top of your head or the back of your neck as an anchor and is worn 14 hours a day.
Our use of traditional headgear in our practice is extremely rare since most of our patients with excess “overbite” have this bite issue as a result of improper tooth position or a small/retruded lower jaw. Halting the forward growth of the upper jaw can prevent breathing airway concerns later in life.
The reverse headgear “face-mask therapy” is like wearing a baseball catcher’s mask and is used for a true “underbite” (anterior crossbite) which is found in only a small percentage of the US population.
The purpose of reverse headgear is to redirect the growth of the upper jaw in a more forward direction to correct underbite in a growing child and is worn 14 hours a day. While it is not uncommon to see children whose lower teeth are in front of their upper teeth when they bite down (“underbite”), this is often the result of them “posturing” their lower jaw forward when asked to bite down, or the result of the way the front teeth grew in. Whether someone has a true underbite that would benefit from face-mask therapy can only be determined accurately with an orthodontic X-ray.
For more information on reverse headgear and face-mask therapy, please contact our Marin office where our friendly team are waiting to assist you.