Does your child have an overbite or underbite? If so, the orthodontist may have suggested that your child wear headgear. Headgear is a device that's worn partly outside the mouth. It straps around the back of the head and applies just enough force to move your child's teeth into proper alignment. Unfortunately, the headgear is very visible and it can make some children feel self-conscious. In extreme cases, the child may even refuse to wear it. Of course, if the child doesn't wear the headgear, he or she could require even more serious treatment later in life. Here are three tips to get your child to wear his or her headgear:
Set a schedule. Your orthodontist will likely tell you the number of hours that the child must wear the headgear every day. If your child doesn't meet this hourly requirement, he or she may have to keep the headgear for several months longer than originally planned. Explain to your child that the more he or she wears the device, the quicker it will be removed. Also, let them determine the hours they want to wear it. If your orthodontist has recommended 10 hours, it likely doesn't have to be 10 consecutive hours. Let your child pick the hours they're most comfortable with and they'll be more likely to wear it regularly.
Let them decorate it. The headgear will have straps that go around either the child's neck or head. These straps are very visible and are usually either clear or a solid color. Your child may be more positive about the experience if they can decorate the straps with their favorite colors or stickers. That way, the headgear will be personalized for them and may be less embarrassing, especially if they have to wear it in public.
Set up a reward system. If your child is very resistant, you may need to bribe them with rewards. Tie the rewards directly to the number of hours they wear the device each day. Set a daily goal and keep track of it in a prominent place, such as on a chart that hangs in the kitchen. If they meet the hourly goal, get them a prize or give them cash. If they exceed the goal, give them an even better reward. They may be more likely to stick to the plan if they can see immediate benefits.
Also, talk to your orthodontist. If he or she knows your child is resistant, he or she may be able to convince them why the headgear is important. For more information about headgear, talk to your local orthodontist at a clinic like Cazes Family Dentistry LLC.