La Habra/Chino Hills, CA – Why do some orthodontic patients require the use of elastics or rubber bands during their treatment while others don’t? What’s the purpose of the tiny rubber bands?
“Elastics or rubber bands are a very important part of orthodontic treatment,” says La Habra/Chino Hills orthodontist, Dr. Robert Gire of Gire Orthodontics. “They provide the force necessary to move the teeth and align the jaw so we can ensure a beautiful and properly functioning bite at the end of your treatment.”
Elastics improve the way your upper and lower teeth or jaws fit together. Your teeth may look straight and pretty quickly, but the real work comes in when we try to align the bite.
Elastics need to be worn all the time. Some patients will elect to keep them on while eating and that’s actually a good idea for two reasons:
- Eating with the rubber bands on will actually help them work more efficiently, essentially exercising your teeth into the desired positions.
- Some patients forget to put them on AFTER they finish eating. So to avoid forgetting, they simply keep them on while eating. They can be removed for flossing and brushing.
Elastics should be changed twice a day to ensure they don’t lose too much elasticity and to ensure the necessary force is always being elicited to the teeth. You may notice in the first few days of wearing them that your mouth feels a touch sore, but as your mouth gets used to them that will go away.
Elastics or rubber bands come in different lengths, strengths, and colors, but the goal is the same – to ensure an ideally functioning bite at the end of treatment. Certain brackets of your braces will have tiny hooks on them where you will attach the rubber bands. It is important to be sure you attach the elastic to the correct teeth to ensure you don’t move your teeth in the wrong position. Invisalign patients will have “precision hooks,” which are essentially small cut-outs in the aligner or tray to hook the elastics on.
Elastics can be used in different configurations, based on the movement your orthodontist is trying to achieve. The rubber bands will gently pull your teeth forward, backward, and/or together in order to properly align the teeth.
“It is important to always follow your orthodontist’s directions on elastic wear,” says Dr. Gire. “We know it can be annoying and even a bit uncomfortable at first to wear them, but we want you to have the most beautiful and functional bite possible at the end of treatment. The directions we give you will help ensure your treatment stays on track.”
If you accidentally skip a few hours or even a day, simply get back into the correct habit as soon as you can. Do not double up on elastics as this can actually slow the treatment down or even damage the teeth and roots.
You can use your elastics to personalize your braces experience, choosing from a rainbow of colors to highlight your personality. If you ever have questions or concerns about wearing your elastics, or need new ones, your orthodontist will be happy to help.
Schedule a free consultation with Dr. Gire at Gire Orthodontics today. Call 562-690-1199 (La Habra) or 909-393-9911 (Chino Hills).