When you undergo treatment for a misalignment, also called malocclusion, the issue's severity may require you to wear adjustable headgear or a facemask. One of the earliest stages of treatment for jaw misalignment that affects your facial features is orthodontic protraction of the jaw. During this process, an orthodontic facemask appliance pulls the top jaw — or maxilla — forward to bring it into alignment.
What Is a Facemask?
A protraction facemask is a piece of class III orthodontic equipment used to fix a patient’s bite, jaw alignment or facial arrangement compromised by a malocclusion. When the maxilla and the lower jaw or mandible grow unevenly, the facemask works to correct it.
Often, orthodontists use an adjustable option to give you more flexibility and comfort while wearing the appliance. The best headgear is lightweight and durable while actively working to correct the misalignment. They are often fully adjustable for the forehead and neck and offer undisturbed airflow through their attached air vents.
Using an orthodontic facemask is one of the earlier steps of orthodontic jaw correction and can drastically shorten your overall malocclusion correction process.
How Does Headgear Work?
Some patients must wear their orthodontic device constantly, without taking it off. In other circumstances, reverse-pull headgear works best when worn after dinner and throughout the night while you sleep. We recommend installing the appliance in the evening, several hours before bed. This timing will give your face a chance to get used to the headgear and any potential soreness that may occur, preventing accidental removal during sleep.
The appliance features a stainless steel framework that you put on, placing the adjustable pads on your forehead and chin. A reinforced crossbar keeps the headgear in place while you connect the intra-oral piece — the part that goes in your mouth — to the hooks in the front of the facemask under the framework with elastics.
To remove the reverse-pull headgear, take out the elastics and slide them off the hooks. You can clean the pads with a damp cloth, replacing them when necessary.
Will My Child Need a Facemask?
Your child may need a facemask if their jaw is misaligned and their mandible protrudes forward over the maxilla. This alignment issue can affect their bite and ability to speak if not treated in time. We recommend booking an appointment for an orthodontic X-ray to see whether a facemask is the best option for your child's jaw development.
How Long Will It Be Worn?
Generally, the younger the patient, the better the treatment results. If you or your child is past the age where your jaw finished developing, you can still receive treatment using an orthodontic facemask appliance. Typically, we will prescribe the headgear to be worn around 12 to 14 hours a day for a minimum of one to two years for the best results.
Set Your Jaw Right Today
At Goldreich Orthodontics, our high standards for patient care ensure that we provide no less than premium services for our patients. We will prioritize your results while maintaining your comfort and trust in us. Book your complimentary consultation, and we will determine the best course of action to achieve your best smile!