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How Often Should I Change Rubber Bands?

rubber bands orthodontics

La Habra/Chino Hills, CA – During the course of orthodontic treatment, your orthodontist may prescribe the use of rubber bands. These rubber bands are an important component of your treatment plan because they can help your orthodontist achieve certain movements that are not possible with your braces or aligners alone.

“Your orthodontic treatment is comprised not only of straightening your smile, but also aligning the bite,” says Dr. Robert Gire. “Braces or clear aligners alone are great for the straightening component, but sometimes we need additional forces to help us achieve the ideal bite. Elastics are excellent at exerting the necessary forces to ensure your bite is aligned so it can function properly.

Guidelines for Wearing Elastics

But, how long should you wear your rubber bands, and how often do they need to be changed?

Your orthodontic team should provide you with specific elastic wear for your treatment, but generally, elastics are worn 24 hours a day. That means they’re in while you are working, sleeping, playing, and sometimes even eating. For many patients, eating while wearing their elastics can enhance tooth movement. 

The only times your elastics should be removed are:

  • To brush and floss your teeth
  • To replace old elastics with new ones
  • To eat (but again, this may be optional for some)

Signs It’s Time to Change Your Elastics

There are some signs to look for to know when it may be time to change your elastics.

  1. Loss of elasticity
  2. Discoloration
  3. Breakage

Your rubber bands should be changed at least twice a day. If you don’t change your rubber bands at least twice a day, the elasticity wears out and they cannot do their jobs properly. A good rule of thumb is to change your rubber bands in the morning after breakfast and then again before bedtime. 

Tips for Maintaining Elastics

To keep your elastics working properly, Dr. Gire offers the following tips:

  1. Avoid hard, sticky, or chewy foods.
  2. Pay close attention to your oral hygiene.
  3. Keep extra elastics handy so you can change them when needed. 

“We know that wearing rubber bands is sometimes uncomfortable,” says Dr. Gire. “This is especially true in the beginning as you are getting used to them. Even though it may be uncomfortable, it is important to ensure you wear your elastics exactly as your orthodontist prescribes. Your end result is dependent on following our instructions – the more closely you follow our instructions, the more efficiently your teeth will move.”

Rubber bands are an important part of your orthodontic treatment. Forgetting to wear them can delay your progress, which can extend your treatment time. To ensure your treatment stays on track, follow your orthodontist’s directions, and maintain proper oral hygiene. If you have any questions about your elastics or treatment progress, our team at Gire Orthodontics is always available to help.

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