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What is orthodontic high pull headgear?

Dustin S. Burleson, DDS
Orthodontics & Dentofacial Orthopedics
Orthodontic high pull headgear is a type of dentofacial orthopedic appliance for directing jaw growth and improving jaw alignment. It attaches to the upper jaw and the back and top of the head. In other words, it is a type of appliance that is also worn outside of the mouth (it is more than just braces). High pull headgear is a variant of headgear aimed at directing growth of the upper jaw in patients with certain growth patterns.

Another popular type of headgear (cervical pull headgear) is used frequently in patients with deep bites or typical growth patterns. However, when a child exhibits upper or lower jaw growth patterns with a tendency to have an open-bite (no contact of the front teeth) or excessive growth of the back portions of the upper and lower jaws, your orthodontist might elect to use high-pull headgear.

As the name suggests, high pull headgear directs force from the top and back of the head (much higher than cervical pull headgear, which directs force from the back of the neck). This difference in directional force allows the orthodontist to have more control over the upper jaw in a vertical pattern, giving an added component of directional control when treating children with jaw alignment problems.

If you believe your child is a candidate for high pull headgear, ask your orthodontist for more details and review the need for exceptional cooperation with this appliance.
Miriam T. Furlong
Orthodontics & Dentofacial Orthopedics

A high pull headgear is usually used with braces, with a strap that is fit to the top of the head and another part that attaches to the braces. It is a way to direct force upward on the teeth and/or jaw. An example of a situation where a high pull headgear could be used is when the upper front teeth and jaw are too far down, resulting in an excessive gummy smile. The headgear could be used to direct an upward and backward force to the front of the upper jaw, reducing the gummy smile and redirecting growth.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.