Elastics (Rubber Bands)

When you get braces, your dentist may recommend you use elastics as part of your orthodontic treatment. This is an indication that you need a little extra help from these tiny rubber bands to move your teeth into place. They are designed to create the exact amount of pressure on your teeth that is needed to move them. These will be hooked on each side of your mouth, stretching from your top canines to your bottom molars or vice versa depending on your bite. In order for the elastics to keep a steady force, they must be worn all the time and they must be changed every day. Please note: If you choose not to wear your elastics as prescribed, your treatment will take longer.

Here are some tips for wearing elastics:

  • It is your responsibility to change the elastics every day. This is very important as the rubber will lose its elasticity rapidly, resulting in an inadequate force on your teeth.
  • You may remove your elastics while brushing your teeth after meals. Then put them back on immediately.
  • Keep extra elastics with you wherever you go so that if one breaks you can replace it right away.
  • As your supply gets low, call us so that you don’t experience a gap in treatment time.
  • Even if they aren’t broken, you should change your elastics at least every 8-12 hours to make sure you’re using rubber bands with the highest strength.
  • The pressure from the elastics moving your teeth and jaw will cause some discomfort, but over time, it should start to minimize.
  • Over-the-counter pain medicine may be taken if the elastics are causing any kind of discomfort.

What Do Orthodontic Elastics Do?

Interarch rubber bands have a more specific purpose than the ligatures that hold the wire in place. They are used during the bite alignment phase of orthodontic treatment; in which your orthodontist plans to correct the way your teeth are positioned within the jaws. While the brackets and wires will fix your crooked teeth, elastics are used in the more difficult process of fixing your bite.

Remember these aren’t normal rubber bands like you’d use around the house. Your orthodontist will give you special elastics specifically to be used inside your mouth.

While elastics are important, not everyone with braces will need them. Be sure to talk to your orthodontist about your possible orthodontic treatment plan when you go in for an exam.

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