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How does orthodontic reverse pull headgear work?

Dante A. Gonzales, DMD
Orthodontics & Dentofacial Orthopedics
Orthodontic reverse pull headgear is an appliance that is worn outside of the mouth (extraoral) and is also known as a "facemask". The appliance is worn on the face and is attached by rubberbands to orthodontic appliances on the upper jaw, like braces, a splint, or a palatal expander. The rubberbands, or elastics, that are used create a force on the upper jaw to move forward. When the appliance is worn for 12 to18 hours per day it places a constant force on the sutures of the upper jaw. These protractive forces cause the upper jaw to grow forward more, outpacing the growth of the lower jaw. Usually, the appliance is prescribed to help correct an underbite in kids age 8-14. The appliance works by modifying the growth of the upper jaw. If there is little to no growth left, the appliance is far less effective.

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