A facemask is used to treat patients whose teeth are in underbite with the lower jaw forward of the upper jaw. Headgear gently “pulls” on your teeth to facilitate forward growth of your upper teeth and jaw. Underbites are best addressed earlier while the patient is still growing and may prevent future jaw surgery to advance the upper jaw once growth has stopped.
An uneven bite does more than affect your smile — it can also cause jaw pain, speech issues and other health problems. At Nicolas Orthodontics, we offer orthodontic facemask treatment to correct misaligned jaws and prevent serious issues from developing.
An orthodontic facemask — also known as a protraction facemask or reverse pull headgear — is an appliance used to correct an underbite. An underbite is a dental condition where the lower jaw protrudes farther than the upper jaw. Correcting an underbite can alleviate pain and reduce the risk of needing future jaw surgery.
Reverse pull headgear gently pulls the upper jaw forward to match the lower jaw. The device attaches to the upper jaw, and patients wear it as a facemask. It has a metal framework with a forehead pad and chin cup for support. Rubber bands attach to hooks at the mouth of the facemask and fasten to braces or bands on the upper teeth. These rubber bands exert pulling force on the upper jaw, causing it to move forward.
For best results, patients should wear their reverse pull headgear for approximately 12 hours a day. Generally speaking, most patients will need to wear the headgear for about a year. The exact treatment length varies depending on the severity of the underbite.
Orthodontic facemask appliances are typically recommended for young patients. They are highly effective for children because children’s jaws are still growing and can be easily manipulated.
Facemasks aren’t used for adults as frequently because it can be difficult to correct an underbite after the jaws and teeth have fully set. However, adults may need facemasks to fix shifting teeth after an oral trauma or tooth extraction.
Regular facemask cleaning ensures the appliance works properly and helps prevent bacteria growth. Besides following specific care instructions from your orthodontist, you can try a few simple methods to keep your facemask clean:
- Wash the headgear framework daily with mild soap and warm water. Be sure to rinse and dry it thoroughly.
- Wash the pads and straps every few days with mild detergent and warm water. Dry them thoroughly before wearing them again.
- Brush the braces or bands inside your mouth along with your teeth.
At Nicolas Orthodontics, we’ve been helping patients improve their smiles and oral health for over 20 years. You can trust our expert team to deliver long-term results and outstanding patient care.
We also make it easy for patients to get treatment, with two convenient locations in Boca Raton and Boyton Beach. Both offices provide the highest levels of care and service to patients of all ages.