Reverse Headgear Appliance

What is a Reverse Headgear Appliance?

A reverse headgear is a removable appliance made up of two soft pads that rest against the forehead and chin, and connected together with a wire framework. Rubber bands are attached from this metal framework to the palatal expander or upper braces.

The headgear is designed to work together with a palatal expansion appliance to move the upper teeth forward, encourage growth of the upper jaw, and slow down the growth of the lower jaw. When worn properly, it will correct underbites and create a healthy bite.

With consistent wear of the headgear, we have an opportunity to avoid the need for removal of permanent teeth and future jaw surgery. We have found that the reverse headgear is most comfortable and effective when it’s worn as a part of early orthodontic treatment, between the ages of six and 11, and can be used until the end of adolescence.

The reverse headgear is an important part of your orthodontic treatment and needs your cooperation to be effective.

When should the Reverse Headgear be worn?

Please keep in mind that the reverse headgear, in order to be effective, needs to be worn 14 hours per 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 be while doing homework, watching TV, or reading. Wearing the reverse headgear only when sleeping will not be enough for it to be effective.

How long will I need the Reverse Headgear?

With excellent cooperation, most of our patients will need the headgear for six to nine months. This will greatly depend on your cooperation in wearing your headgear for the required 14 hours per day.

Helpful Hints

Do not wear your reverse headgear during any sports, running, bike riding, or horseplay. If you need more rubber bands, please call our office. Continuous wear is the key to success! Please bring your headgear to each appointment so 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 may need to apply Aquafor ointment for any soreness or redness that appears on the chin.


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