Whether you’ve had orthodontic treatment or not, you’ve seen people wearing elastics or rubber bands as part of the process. But do you know what they’re used for? To help give you a better idea of why rubber bands are used with metal or clear braces, we’ll explain what they are, why they’re used, and how to take care of them during treatment.
What are Rubber Bands?
In short, rubber bands are used to help move your teeth along the archwire to aid in tooth movement for your particular treatment plan. There are many different ways to wear rubber bands and how long you wear them is determined by your orthodontist. Dr. Chris Murphy at Southern Maine Orthodontics will instruct you on exactly how to wear your rubber bands and when and how often to change them based on your personalized treatment plan. Since your rubber bands lose their elasticity with use, patients are normally instructed to replace them at least once a day, especially after eating and brushing.
Who Needs Rubber Bands?
Not everyone with braces needs to wear rubber bands. It all depends upon your particular problem and treatment plan. Rubber bands come in different sizes and strengths and are typically used to help correct poor bites such as underbites, overbites, and crossbites. Even though your teeth may look straight, if the upper and lower teeth and/or jaws do not line up correctly, it can result in a malocclusion (poor bite). Rubber bands are used together with brackets and archwires to correct these types of issues.
Taking Care of Rubber Bands
If you are instructed to wear rubber bands, they are a very important part of your treatment to achieve a better smile and finished result. You can remove your rubber bands while eating, brushing, and flossing. And don’t forget to put them back on after you are done!
Forgetting to replace them or failing to wear them as directed could delay your progress and extend your treatment time. So make sure you always have plenty of rubber bands on hand in your pocket or backpack should you need to change them. Packets of replacement rubber bands are given in-office at your appointments, once prescribed. Feel free to contact our office if you notice you are running low in between appointments or lose them. We will be happy to mail them to you or you can stop by during regular office hours to pick up extra packs.
If you have questions about how to wear your elastics, contact our office today. Your new smile will thank you later!