Orthodontic rubber bands, or elastic bands as some orthodontists may call them, play an important role in a majority of orthodontic treatment plans. Whether your orthodontist recommends them early on in your treatment process or toward the end, they’ll play a vital role in your bite alignment and orthodontic care. So, what are rubber bands, how do they benefit your smile, and how should you care for them?

What Are Orthodontic Rubber Bands?

A great amount of force needs to be placed on your teeth to help them reach the correct position. That’s why sometimes you may feel a little bit of discomfort or pressure after getting your braces adjusted: the amount of force has changed and you’re experiencing slow tooth movement. Rubber bands help increase this pressure and force to a more specific location of your mouth. These latex bands can be different sizes depending on the force you need and are attached to the brackets of your metal braces using small hooks. They may take a few days to get used to, but they’re simple to put on and take off.

These elastic bands can be placed in all types of conformations depending on your type of bite problem. If you have an overbite, your rubber bands may be placed in a different location than another patient who has an underbite, crossbite, or tooth gap. Sometimes they’re near the back of your mouth, other times near the front. Sometimes they’re vertical and other times they are diagonal. In some cases, patients may not even need them. However, if your orthodontist recommends them, this isn’t a cause for concern. It’s just another step to help improve the success rate of your braces treatment.

What Is the Benefit of Rubber Bands?

The bite correction phase of your treatment process can be the hardest part. After all, the entire position of your teeth has to move. Using orthodontic rubber bands during this phase helps move your teeth along and gets you closer to a straighter smile.

  • Rubber brands provide extra force. As mentioned previously, rubber bands provide the force needed to target specific areas of your bite. They create more precise tension, apply additional pressure, and can provide the flexibility for more complex tooth movements.
  • They speed up treatment. Because they can provide extra force, rubber bands help speed up the alignment process and improve the accuracy of your adjustments. And, when you have straight teeth, you can avoid issues like decay or gum disease while also improving your confidence!

However, like the rest of your treatment process, rubber bands are only effective if you follow your orthodontists’ instructions and take proper care of your smile.

Rubber Band Maintenance & Care

When prescribed rubber bands, your orthodontist will tell you how long they need to be worn. In most cases, they should be worn for about 23 hours per day for several weeks.

Your orthodontic rubber bands should be removed for brushing and flossing so it is easier for you to open your mouth and get to those hard-to-reach spots. Rubber bands should also be removed for eating so that they don’t snap or break. As always when wearing braces, avoid sticky or hard foods that could break your rubber bands, your brackets, or your wires and practice good oral care.

You’ll notice your rubber bands growing looser throughout the day. This is natural as they lose their elasticity. It’s necessary to apply steady pressure to your bite, so if you feel your rubber bands growing loose, swap them out with new ones immediately. We recommend that patients carry a few extra rubber bands with them throughout the day so they can change them while at school or work. Keep some extra in your desk or locker. If you run out, call our Lehigh Valley orthodontists as soon as you can. We’ll make sure you get a new supply.

And finally, please follow your orthodontist’s instructions while wearing your rubber bands. Don’t throw out the elastics. They’re just as important as your wires or brackets. And don’t wear multiple rubber bands on the same hook at once. This won’t speed up your treatment time. Instead, it may slow it down by damaging the roots of your teeth.

Learn More at Exeter Smiles

If you’re interested in learning more about how braces as a whole can help your smile shine, reach out to us today! Our orthodontists in Reading and Allentown will develop a treatment plan custom to your needs…including x-rays, retainers, palate expanders, rubber bands, and all of the essential tools that help improve your smile.

New patients are being accepted. Contact us today!