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If you’ve seen Finding Nemo, you may remember a red haired, freckle-faced child named Darla. Darla wears headgear. She’s also not very nice to the fish. It’s kind of awkward. You might also remember the kids in your middle school or high school that had to wear headgear. Maybe you were one of those children. Maybe you were teased.

Headgear doesn’t have the greatest reputation. But it’s actually really awesome.

If you’re not familiar with headgear, here’s a brief description: headgear is an orthodontic appliance with thick wires that extends outside the mouth. Straps may go behind the neck or over the chin. Depending on the needs of the patient, headgear designs may vary.

Why is it awesome? Headgear uses the natural laws of physics to go above and beyond the call of mere braces and rubber bands. According to Thomas Newton’s laws of motion, to every action there is an equal reaction. If you lean against a wall, the wall is exerting the same force back at you. When you wear braces, the wires connect your teeth together in such a way that your front and back teeth are slowly pushing and pulling each other into alignment. Sometimes, however, that force is not strong enough. That’s where headgear comes in. It adds extra force to those back teeth, straightening both your teeth and your bite and creating a beautiful, healthy smile.

If you believe that you or your child may need headgear, please call Sossaman Family Dental in Mesa, AZ at 480-359-1464 to schedule an appointment. Dr. Timothy Yu, our orthodontist, can give you customized, expert advice on the best options for you.