FAQ – Orthodontic headgear

Braces 101 – Common Orthodontic Headgear instructions


The following are common instructions given to parents and patients for using orthodontic headgear. The transition to wearing headgear is an adjustment for both parents and patients. It is important to be encouraging and supportive during this time!

  •  The purpose of the headgear is to make dental and/or skeletal changes to your patient’s bite.
  •  To make these improvements, it is important that your patient wears the headgear as prescribed.  Poor compliance will result in less than ideal results and will increase your patient’s treatment time.
  • Learning to place the headgear can be difficult in the beginning.  It is similar to learning to ride a bicycle.  It may be tough and frustrating at first, but with practice it becomes very easy.
  • Most Orthodontists recommend the headgear should be worn at least 12 hours a day. The latest studies show that the headgear has its best skeletal changing result during the evening hours, specifically between 6 PM – midnight. It is important to wear the headgear right after dinner and throughout the night. This will ensure wearing it for at least 12 hours a day and take advantage of the most effective hours.
  • It is important to not wear the headgear during physical play or activity. This may result in serious damage to your child’s teeth and mouth. Most headgear have a safety release mechanism, but it best to not rely on this.
  • Your patient does not need to wear the headgear outside the home. Their friends don’t need to know they have one!
  • Use the headgear wear chart to keep track of the amount of time the headgear is worn. This will help us all evaluate your patient’s compliance.
  • Your patient may experience some discomfort initially until they become accustomed to the Headgear. You may choose to give them pain medication like Advil or Tylenol at night and in the morning to help with the discomfort in the beginning. This discomfort will diminish over the first few days.
  • Please be sure your patient brings their headgear and headgear wear chart to each appointment.

Should I wear my orthodontic headgear when playing sports or running?

 Be sure to remove your orthodontic headgear before you begin playing sports or running including rough and tumble games. Accidents can happen even when you’re just having fun. 

Should I allow anyone to grab my orthodontic headgear?

Be very careful to prevent anyone from grabbing or pulling on your orthodontic headgear. Brother, sisters and friends who don’t wear headgear may not understand the dangers involved, even in play. 

How do I use a pillow case with the Open Spaces™ orthodontic headgear pillow?

Most people find that their regular pillowcases work with the Open Spaces™ orthodontic headgear pillow. Just push down the extra fabric into the slot area. 

My child is removing the orthodontic headgear during the night, can the Open Spaces™ pillow help?

Orthodontists report some patients remove orthodontic headgear during the night to improve their comfort. Removing headgear during the night can be a safety issue. Open Spaces™ pillows make headgear wear more comfortable thus patients are less likely to remove their headgear. 

Can the Open Spaces™ orthodontic headgear pillow provide relief for a Herbst appliance?

The Open Spaces™ pillow can provide relief from pressure of a Herbst appliance or any other intraoral appliance used with orthodontic braces. The slot works the same way as with facebow headgear to relieve direct pressure on the mouth from a regular pillow.