What You Should Know About Headgear

Are you afraid of getting braces? Do you fret over wearing rubber bands and headgear? Fear no more….you’re questions about headgear are answered here!

What is headgear exactly?
Headgear is an appliance worn on the outside of the mouth to affect the growth of the upper jaw (also known as the maxilla). Does everyone who wears braces have to wear headgear also? No.  Usually headgear is worn by younger children during a preliminary phase of treatment before a full set of traditional braces is worn. Headgear is used to correct certain forms of overbite, so not everyone will need to wear it. How long do you have to wear it? For patients who need headgear, it is only worn at night and sometimes during the day at home.  It is not necessary to wear it out of the house and never necessary to wear during activities.  Usually patients will wear headgear for about 8 hours a day for 6 months – 1 year (and usually only when sleeping).

What does headgear do?
Headgear works to correct the growth pattern of the upper jaw so that top teeth will not protrude.  When worn correctly and for longer periods of time during the day (like during summer time) it will improve the upper jaw quicker and may not be necessary for the full 6 months -1 year.

Are there alternatives to wearing headgear?
Once all the permanent teeth have come in, the alternative to wearing headgear is to have 2 of the teeth pulled from the top jaw creating space and relieving forces pushing the teeth forward.

….So wearing headgear is not NEARLY as scary as it might seem.

If you have ANY other questions about headgear, please contact us! Dr. Hess would LOVE to chat with you about wearing braces and the best treatment for you!

  The Need for Speed

Here at Orthodontics of Baton Rouge the most common bracket we use is a system known as the Speed System. The Speed system is special because each bracket has a door that opens to allow the wire to slide in, and then closes around it to secure it. This eliminates the need for rubber elastics, however colored elastics can still be used for awesome color combinations! The Speed System is also a favorite because each bracket is small and fairly easy to clean around. They can be used to correct a wide array of problems and are small enough to still be aesthetically acceptable. When Dr. Hess puts braces on teeth it is called bonding. Each bracket is bonded to the tooth with a special glue that is clear and strong to keep the brackets from coming off. Once the brackets are bonded to the teeth, Dr. Hess will then begin moving the teeth and correcting problems by using a series of wires. Wires range from small flexible round wires to firm steel rectangular wires.The rectangular wires allow Dr. Hess to create a smooth more precisely aligned look for the best smile possible!

  More Milk Please!

Working in Orthodontics is all fun and braces, but we are also very concerned about the overall health of our patients teeth.  Keeping up with your cleanings and maintaining good oral hygiene is a MUST with braces.  Not only could the braces increase your chance for cavities if not properly cleaned and maintained, but they can cause white spots on the teeth once braces come off.  In an attempt to encourage good hygiene we offer to our patients points on their rewards card for having a dental cleaning.  They also receive points for having a good grade in brushing each time they come to visit us.

Once you get braces on, Sarah takes some time to go over foods that are braces-friendly and those that are not but what drinks are braces-friendly? Certainly all drinks are not bad for you if they are had in moderation. BUT, you can never go wrong with milk.  Good, old-fashion, white milk.  Ice cold and delicious right out of the refrigerator. Milk has nutrients in it such as calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, and vitamin D which support the growth of teeth and oral tissues in young children.  Both white milk AND chocolate milk (yes, lets all celebrate for chocolate milk) have been proven to be what smart dentists refer to as “noncariogenic”.  Noncariogenic simply means that it does not promote cavities in teeth.  Some studies have shown that chocolate milk has the same amount of cavity causing properties as regular white milk, plus chocolate milk has proven to be less cavity-forming than water with sugar (i.e. kool-aid, or sugar saturated drinks) which indicates that milk also has protective properties for teeth.  So when faced with the choice of soda or milk, always demand “More milk, please!"

  Brush, Floss, Mouthwash

Here at Orthodontics of Baton Rouge we work really hard to make sure you have a great experience while receiving orthodontic treatment.  We want to see you have a beautiful smile full of pearly straight teeth. Braces do require some extra work when cleaning your teeth and mouthwash is no exception.  While it is NOT a replacement for award winning flossing and brushing, mouthwash is another way of helping to keep your teeth and gums healthy.

I’ll just take a moment and run through the different types of mouthwash available to help you determine which one might be the best choice for you:

Fluoride is the most common type of mouthwash. It is great for strengthening the enamel of the teeth while helping to prevent cavities and tooth decay.  You can’t go wrong with a good fizzy fluoride mouthwash.

Antiseptic is the second kind of mouthwash out there.  It is great at killing bad bacteria and germs in the mouth.  For that reason is it commonly used before and after dental surgery.  Antiseptic mouthwash is also good for fighting chronic bad breath (halitosis) and gum disease.  But be careful with an antiseptic mouthwash because it can affect your sense of taste as well as stain your teeth.  Always talk to your dentist, or Dr. Hess, before you use an antiseptic mouthwash.

Combination mouthwash is a mix of both antiseptic and fluoride.  It will freshen your breath while helping prevent tooth decay and gum disease.  This one is a winner if you are looking for a well-rounded everyday mouthwash.  Keep a little travel-size bottle of it in your back pack, purse, car, or locker for a midday burst of awesome freshness.

Finally, we have prescription mouthwash.  This is any mouthwash that has been prescribed to someone by a doctor to help treat gingivitis and other forms of decay.

With many different types of mouthwash available, you may still have questions about which type is best for you during your time in braces.  Give us a call or ask at your next appointment and we will be happy to talk with you about the best one for you.