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Headgear is typically used in growing patients to correct overbites by holding back the growth of the upper jaw, allowing the lower jaw to catch up. Headgear needs to be worn approximately 10-14 hrs to be effective in correcting the overbite, usually anywhere from 6 -18 months depending on the severity of the overbite and how much a patient is growing.
First, the facebow (or J-Hooks) is fitted with a metal arch onto headgear tubes attached to the rear upper and lower molars. This facebow then extends out of the mouth and around the face. J-Hooks are different in that they hook into the patients mouth and attach directly to the braces.
The second component is the head cap, which consists of a number of straps fitting around the head. This is attached with elastic bands or springs to the facebow. Additional straps and attachments are used to ensure comfort and safety (see photo).
The third and final component - typically consisting of rubber bands, elastics, or springs - joins the facebow or J-Hooks and the head cap together, providing the force to move the teeth backwards
Facemask or reverse-pull headgear is an orthodontic appliance typically used in growing patients to correct underbites (technically termed Class-III orthodontic problems) by pulling forward and assisting the growth of the upper jaw (maxilla), allowing it to catch up to the size of the lower jaw (mandible). Facemasks or reverse-pull headgear needs to be worn approximately 14 to 16 hours per day to be truly effective in correcting the underbite, usually anywhere from 12 to 18 months depending on the severity of the bite and how much a patient is growing.