Braces have long been used to improve many cases of dental abnormalities. In addition, braces also help improve the quality of a person’s smile and keep away from serious conditions to occur in the future. Braces have undergone many changes since it was first published widely in the market.
With today’s advancements in technology, braces have a remarkable ability in terms of putting teeth in proper positions, regardless of any level of severity.
Braces are built from several mutually supportive parts, designed to produce the significant force required to move the teeth and jaws to the proper position.
Based on the particular case being addressed, sometimes braces require additional tools when it comes to straightening teeth. One common “adjunct” that orthodontists often use is “orthodontic elastics” or “rubber bands”.
What Exactly are Rubber Bands?
In short, rubber bands are just tiny rubbers which may come in several different colors. During orthodontic treatment, the dentist may allow the patients to use rubber bands with braces for several reasons.
In many cases, however, rubber bands are an important part and have important work to do in orthodontic treatment.
They provide a connective force (extra tension on the teeth), which is necessary to move the teeth and jaws into proper alignment.
Types of Rubber Bands
Elastics come in two different types that the dentist may explain in your dental care course. In other words, if you decide to take a series of orthodontic treatments involving traditional braces or other types (depending on your preference), you have the possibility to complete your treatment with either one or both commonly used elastic bands.
The first rubber bands are the ligatures. They are known as small elastics, wrapped around each individual bracket that keeps the archwire to stay in slots of the brackets.
Ligatures are used to pull or push the teeth in a particular direction during the treatment. In addition, they also come in several different colors that allow kids and teens to have more fun with their braces.
Everyone who wears braces, especially traditional braces, have these rubber bands (ligatures), and they stay in place all the time unless your dentist needs to make some adjustments about your braces during the visiting time.
There are two types of ligatures that may introduced by your dentist. The first one is single elastic ligatures. Each ligature lays down the significant force required to move the tooth in varying levels, depending on the bands bonding on the teeth.
The second one is connected elastic ligatures, also known as “Power Chain” ligatures. Basically, these are several ligatures that are connected in a sequence (in one row).
The orthodontist may use this type of ligature in the case that he/she intends to move a certain group of teeth in the same direction simultaneously. Both of ligatures need to change each time patient makes a follow-up visit.
2. Inter-arch Rubber Bands
The “Inter-arch” name implies that these rubber bands have the ability to do a special job in correcting two misalignment arches of the mouth (your jaws). In other words, your orthodontist will recommend of using the rubber bands in case if you have a significant problem with your bite.
Orthodontic treatment offers several different options when it comes to correcting the lower and upper sets of dental relationships. Some of them are surgery, springs, headgear, functional appliances etc, whilst the most common method is Elastics (aka rubber bands), family of the spring method.
Elastics and rubbers bands are used in the braces to improve the teeth how teeth get fit together. This brace also helps in filling the gap between the teeth. It closes the space by placing it in the proper direction.
In addition to, it also improves the midlines and cross bites. Rubber bands for braces are just the rubbers which attached with the braces that are blocked on the teeth to enhance the direction of the teeth.
They are attached to the patient mouth with the help of the little hooks which are known to be the part of the braces. Rubber bands will take place into orthodontic treatment when patients have been wearing their braces for at least 4-6 months.
Benefits of using Rubber Bands for Braces
There are a few benefits that make elastics more commonly applied rather than other corrective methods, a few of them are;
- Not noticeable
- Flexible and stretchy
- Remove and replace easily
- Correcting most types of bite problems
Elastics are not noticeable (unlike headgear for instance), they blend in with teeth as they available in tooth colored, and come in bright colors (which many kids love).
This flexibility allows the patients to move their mouth liberally while talking, yawning as well as maintaining other normal jaw functions.
Individuals who want the convenience of wearing braces soon may discover that the elastic is very easily removed, allowing new rubber bands to be placed every day which facilitating their brushing and eating.
Elastics are very effective in correcting most bite problems (overbites, underbites, crossbites and open bites). In addition, elastics (rubber bands) are far more efficient in term of cost than other devices when it comes to bite correction.
Rubber bands can be applied in several different configurations when it comes to jaws realignment job. However, the most common configuration is “inter-arch” or “top-to-bottom”. They may also come in many different colors, which kids may have fun while they are wearing braces.
How do Elastic Bands Work?
Simply put, the rubber band works by connecting the brackets attached to the upper canine teeth and the brackets attached to the lower molars.
Orthodontic elastics provide extra tension that pulls the jaw backward or forward, depending on the abnormality of your jaw to reach the perfect alignment.
The end result is, the lower teeth and upper teeth should line up and fit comfortably when you bite down. They also play a significant role in accelerating the process of straightening a tooth or teeth misalignment, thus, they become an essential part of an orthodontic treatment.
In many cases, it takes at least 10-12 hours a day to wear rubber bands (elastics). In just for a few reasons that a patient needs to wear the elastics for 24 hours, and removed just for eating or brushing teeth and braces.
Tips for Wearing Orthodontic Elastics
Your cooperation as a patient is imperative to ensure the treatment goes accordingly as initial plans, therefore you need to make sure for always wear your rubber bands for braces every day without missing out a day. Some of the following tips probably help you while wearing a rubber band or elastic.
- Use your thumbs and forefingers
- Keep the Elastics Safely
- Replace the Elastics each day
Both your thumb and forefinger can assist you in putting up the rubber bands in proper position securely. Simply by standing in front of the mirror and you can hook up the elastics according to your orthodontist direction. If you have difficulties for a few days, ask your dentist for bigger size elastics.
Elastics come in small sizes, usually collected in a small bag, so you will easily lose your collection if you don’t care for them. Therefore, put on the elastics into a small bag (a zippered pocket for kids) which is easily visible and easy to grab in case you require them for replacement.
Rubber bands always through a lot of tear and wear, therefore you have to replace them every day and certainly for both of sides. If you find that one of the elastic bands is broken, you still have to replace both to maintain the same tension. When you go for eating and brushing teeth, do not forget to remove your elastics.
Color for Your Rubber Bands
The exciting part when wearing braces is the involvement of various colors. The color of the braces comes from elastics (ligatures or rubber bands).
The use of rubber bands in braces indicates that you have reached a significant milestone in your orthodontic treatment. Thus you can experiment more with the color of the rubber bands.
Younger patients (kids and teens) usually prefer a variety of colors to adorn their ligature or rubber bands. They determine colors based on many reasons, ranging from current events or specific themes in each season, such as Christmas or Halloween.
On the other hands, adult patients commonly prefer neutral colors (tooth colored, silver and gray), but they stay away from black and brown to avoid them looking like there is food sticking between their teeth.
Clear colors of elastics can sometimes be an option but beware of some drinks like coffee, soda, tea, and wine as they can lead to staining.
During the first few days after involving rubber bands, you may feel some soreness in your jaw, mouth, and teeth, however, don’t worry as they are normal.
For this reason, don’t give up wearing rubber bands, you should avoid using them intermittently as well which may potentially slow down the progress of treatment, even causing further discomfort.
It is possible for obtaining the rubber bands from your dentist during the treatment. However, you may also allow to buy rubber bands for braces online, which you can choose them from several providers at affordable prices.