Everything you need to know about rubber bands and braces

Everything you need to know about rubber bands and braces

Have you heard your Orthodontist say: always wear your rubber bands? Ever wonder why?

Rubber bands or orthodontic interarch elastics help orthodontist’s grip the top teeth to your bottom teeth for various kinds of bite correction. Extra oral elastics may also be worn for orthopedic movements. Wearing rubber bands can improve how you chew, and they can maximize the final esthetics of your smile. They can be fun with colors or even help your braces and Invisalign look cute.

Some hurdles do exist when you wear elastics. They cause initial soreness for approximately a week while your mouth becomes accustomed to them. Orthodontic rubber bands can pop out of your mouth or break which can be a nuisance. Sometimes you can swallow them, they always pass through your digestive system without issues. In fact your orthodontist won’t require that you search for a misplaced elastic. I haven’t heard of any harm ever occurring with patients as as long as elastics are worn as prescribed by your orthodontist.

Orthodontic elastics come in dozens of sizes and strengths. Your orthodontist will prescribe a given elastic size based on desired tooth movement to occur and the supporting orthodontic appliance that is anchoring the rubber band. Some elastics have very small diameters these can exert more force sometimes used for bringing teeth together or for correcting a crossbite, others have larger diameters meant hooking in unique ways. Elastics come in a host of force levels measured in ounces. The versatility of elastics makes them incredibly useful to you and your orthodontist during treatment. The possibilities of elastics in treatment are infinite and so impossible to fully describe in a blog. In fact if worn as instructed they can speed treatment and maximize results as they have been treatment planned by your orthodontist.

Just as a note of caution. If rubber bands are worn in the wrong fashion then orthodontic appliances can break. Teeth can move incorrectly and the bite may become worse. If the size and strength of elastic isn’t correct the teeth and subsequent bones may not move due to incorrect force levels. Too much force can also cause necrosis ( death at the level of the cells) causing movement to stop all together. Don’t ever decide to move teeth in a DYI fashion, this can lead to tooth loss and poor outcomes.

If you have any questions with regards to elastics reach out to your orthodontist or message Dr Susan Podray for clarification. Should you struggle to remember them or struggle to get used to the initial discomfort tell your orthodontist. Alternating Motrin and Tylenol can help with pain and discomfort. Placing a bag of elastics in easy to reach places can help you with learning to wear them. If you still struggle with elastics and have made your best effort then other treatment options may be available to you that require less compliance and participation just ask your orthodontist.

Dr Susan Podray is available for complimentary consultations in our Serenity Orthodontics offices in North Georgia, serving communities of Hall, Forsyth, Fulton and Gwinnett counties. Like our Serenity Orthodontics Facebook page and send us a message directly.