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Why Are Rubber Bands Used on Braces?

April 23, 2014

So you have been told you need to wear braces. You are fine with wearing it since it’s necessary to straighten your teeth or correct your bite. Most dentists get this question from their orthodontic patients though, “Why are rubber bands used on braces?” Why do orthodontists need to use rubber bands with braces?

Why Are Rubber Bands Used on Braces?

Rubber bands, also called elastics, are an important part of the orthodontic treatment; they provide the connective force necessary to move the teeth and jaw into the proper alignment. Sometimes it is not possible to adjust only the wires in order to cause the teeth to move as they should. The elastics are connected to specific teeth to move them in a planned direction.

Rubber bands are used for:

  • Bite correction
  • Close or open spaces between teeth or bites

How do Rubber Bands on Braces Work?

For you to realize how important wearing elastics on your braces (and perhaps make it endurable at most), it is important to understand exactly how your teeth respond to these elastics.

When a rubber band is placed on the teeth, no tooth movement will occur for the first 6-8 hours that the bands are on. Only after this first 6-8 hours do the teeth begin to respond and move. So, if you remove your rubber bands for more than 30 minutes in the first 6-8 hours, your teeth do not move. This is the biggest mistake patients make, and they cannot figure out why no changes are seen.

What to Expect When Wearing Rubber Bands on Braces

Wearing elastics will initially make your teeth sore. This soreness will go away with continuous wear after a couple of days. Giving your teeth a “break” from the elastics will only make them feel sore again the next time you put them on and set you back in treatment.

How to Wear Rubber Bands on Braces

Dr. Reese or our staff provides patients with complete instructions on how to remove and replace the bands. It is quite easy to do this.

Here are some more instructions that you would likely be given. These should be followed consistently and to the letter to ensure that treatment goes as planned.

  • Elastics are to be to worn at all times unless otherwise instructed.
  • Elastics should only be taken out to eat or while brushing and flossing your teeth.
  • Change your elastics for new ones at least twice a day. The reason elastics must be changed twice a day is because they lose their effectiveness over a short period of time. A great schedule would be to replace your bands before sleeping and then after waking up the next day.

Effective Orthodontic Treatment Depends on You!

Consistent wearing of rubber bands on your braces is one of the most crucial elements that determine whether your treatment is completed on time. Coupled with the care you need to do with your teeth with braces, it will require much effort on your part but it will all be worth it once the braces come off!

Our number one goal is to give you the best smile possible in the shortest period of time as possible. Your cooperation in wearing your elastics as instructed will help achieve this goal.

Braces are an Investment

Braces are an investment, but the end result is worth it. Investing in your oral and dental health, whether you are a child or an adult,  can help you with your speech, confidence, and all other areas of  life.

Customized care is a hallmark of everyone’s treatment at Indianapolis Dentistry.  Dr. Reese offers orthodontics for children and adults and is happy to offer you an orthodontic evaluation to discuss your particular concerns and options.  Give us a call at 317-882-0228 or email today!