Headgear Appliance

What is headgear?

Headgear, also known as a nightbrace, is a removable appliance made of a metal part attached inside to your braces and a plastic strap worn around the back of the neck.

The headgear is designed to work with your braces to move the upper teeth back. In many cases, it can create room for crowded teeth, and help to avoid the need for removal of permanent teeth.

The headgear corrects the protrusion of upper teeth, and can slow down the forward growth of the upper jaw, which allows the lower jaw to grow forward and catch up. Headgear is an important part of your orthodontic treatment and needs your cooperation to be effective.

When should I wear the headgear?

For you to enjoy the best results, the headgear must be worn 12 hours a day. This is a combination of waking hours and sleeping hours. Over the first three days, you will gradually build up to wearing the headgear for 12 hours, following this schedule:

DAY 1    2 awake hours
DAY 2    4 awake hours
DAY 3    4 awake hours + 8 sleeping hours = 12 total hours

Please keep in mind that, in order to be effective in moving teeth, the headgear needs to be worn 12 hours a day. The hours do not have to be consecutive, but at least one hour of wear at a time is most effective. Your waking hours can occur while doing homework, watching TV, or reading. Wearing the headgear only when sleeping will not be enough for the headgear to be effective.

How long will I need the headgear?

With excellent cooperation, most of our patients will need to wear the headgear for six months. This will greatly depend on your cooperation in wearing your headgear for the recommended 12 hours per day.

Safety Tips

  • Do not wear your headgear during any sports, running, bike riding, or horseplay.
  • Do not pull on or detach the metal facebow without first unhooking the neck strap.
  • Do not try to adjust any part of the headgear yourself. If it needs to be adjusted, please call our office.

Helpful Hints

You will be given an opportunity to practice placing and removing the headgear while you are in the office. The loops on the metal part of the headgear should point upward.

Please bring your headgear to each appointment so that it can be adjusted. You may experience mild discomfort when first getting used to the headgear. Use Advil or Tylenol, as needed. This soreness will go away after a few days of daily wear.


You are on your way to a lifetime of beautiful and healthy smiles!