The face mask: why is it used in orthodontics?

If you are interested in orthodontics and you are a follower of our blog, it is very likely that you have already read our article on the different malocclusions treated by orthodontics. If you haven't, we encourage you to do so by clicking on this linkBut let's recapitulate a bit in order to address today's topic.

Firstly, to clarify that the term malocclusion refers to the situation in which there is poor contact between the upper and lower teeth when biting or closing the mouth, and they are classified into 'classes' according to how they fit (or do not fit) in the sagittal plane.

Very briefly and almost like an outline, we could say that:

  • The Class 1 is that which is established when there is an ideal relationship between the maxilla and the mandible.
  • The Class 2 occurs when the jaw (or lower jaw) has not developed correctly and is in a 'more backwards' position than it should be.
  • The class 3However, it occurs when the jaw is overdeveloped and 'protrudes' in front of the upper jaw.

Today we are going to go a step further in our explanation of class III, and how we can correct it when we detect it at an early age (because later it is more complicated). In fact, we are going to talk about the most commonly used orthopaedic device in these cases: the face mask.

What is the face mask?

The facial mask is an appliance used in orthodontics at an early age and its purpose is to correct the disproportionate development of the growth of the mandible or maxilla. As we have already indicated, the norm is for the maxilla to cover the mandible, with all the upper teeth remaining above the lower teeth. On occasions when we find the opposite, we are dealing with a case of crossbite in which the mandible is in front of the maxilla.

This may be due either to a problem with the size of the jaw, which is small in relation to the ideal, which is considered maxillary hypoplasia, or with the jaw, which is overdeveloped, known as mandibular prognathism. A combination of both can also occur.

The effect produced by the mask is the forward protraction of the maxilla, thus resolving the anterior crossbite.

How is the face mask used?

The face mask is placed outside the mouth, i.e. extraorally, and rests on the patient's chin and forehead at the same time, and has cushions in these areas for added comfort.

It is attached by means of elastics or rubber bands to the disjunctor, an intraoral device that is often used in conjunction with treatment to achieve rapid palatal disjunction, something that we have already explained above. on our blog.

At what age is the face mask used?

The Class III is, of all the malocclusions that can be treated by orthodontics, the one that we must treat first and the one that requires us to act first. Various scientific studies have shown that the earlier we start treatment, the better and more stable the results achieved.

It is therefore important not to miss regular check-ups at the dentist's surgery, so that this type of malocclusion can be diagnosed as soon as possible and the appropriate treatment can be carried out.

How many hours does it have to be worn?

The use of the facial mask usually begins at night and, depending on the orthodontist's indications and the needs of the treatment, it can be extended to the period during which the patient remains at home, with a recommended 14 hours a day. That is, in the afternoon and evening.

In this case of Before and Afterwhich you can also find in our networks, you will be able to see the physical change that is sought with its use, with excellent final results:

As you can see, there has been a remarkable change in the position of the maxilla and mandible, in only 5 months!

If you have any further questions, please contact us through the usual channels.

Are you interested in orthodontics? Don't miss anything, sign up for our newsletter