Braces are a common feature of adolescent life. Roughly 4.5 million Americans wear braces; most of these individuals are children or teenagers.
Braces help correct several orthopedic issues. They straighten teeth, close gaps between them, and help to realign the jaw to fix over and underbites. But, braces sometimes need some extra help in this work.
That’s where orthodontic elastic bands come in. You may wonder, “what are orthodontic elastic bands?”
These are essentially rubber bands for braces. They hook onto brackets in critical locations to pull your teeth and jaw into alignment.
People often have questions about how these bands work. If that describes you, keep reading! We’ll answer your questions in the guide below.
The Two Types of Orthodontic Elastic Bands
Technically, a dentist could mean one of two things when they refer to orthodontic elastic bands. First, there are ligatures.
Ligatures are small rubber elastics that fit around your brackets and fix them to your archwire. This way, the brackets stay attached and tight against your teeth. Ligatures work to push and pull your teeth into their appropriate alignment throughout your treatment.
The other type of elastic is rubber bands for braces. These are a larger type of elastic that applies pressure to your jaw. This pressure helps bring your jaw into proper alignment.
Both types of elastic come in several colors that patients can choose from. This way, patients can personalize their braces to showcase their smiles!
What Do Orthodontic Elastic Bands Do?
As mentioned above, elastic bands on braces pull your jaw into alignment. When this happens, your top and bottom teeth line up and feel natural when you bite down.
Using these bands can accelerate your alignment, which helps you get your braces off on time. Sometimes, they even help you get out of braces a little early!
So, how long do you have to wear braces with rubber bands? Usually, patients must wear elastic bands for at least 10-12 hours. Your local orthodontist can give you more detailed instructions on how long to wear them each day.
Some situations require patients to wear braces for 24-hours daily, only taking them out to eat. You’d also take them out whenever you brush your teeth or clean your braces.
What to Expect When Wearing Braces with Rubber Bands
The first thing to know about wearing braces with rubber bands is that you have achieved a critical milestone. Usually, rubber bands come in during the later stages of a patient’s treatment. So, wearing rubber bands means you’re closer to finishing your treatment!
You’ll likely experience some discomfort when you begin wearing them. The first few days usually bring soreness to your jaw, teeth, and mouth. But, this discomfort fades after the first week or so.
Lastly, make sure you keep up with your rubber bands. They’re easy to lose after you take them out, so keep them somewhere you can quickly find them!
Consult Your Orthodontist About Orthodontic Elastic Bands!
Orthodontic elastic bands are a standard part of your braces treatment. They’ll accelerate your treatment and increase its overall efficiency.
So, consult your orthodontist about whether it’s time for you to receive rubber bands. If so, you’ll have marked a critical milestone in your treatment!
We hope you enjoyed this article! If so, check out our other dental tips today.