Having an elastic band or orthodontic elastics pulling on your teeth isn’t really one of the first thoughts one may have when considering getting braces. Nevertheless, they are essential in the process and will be doing the heavy lifting when it comes to fixing your bite and giving you a perfect smile.
Why Do We Need Rubber Bands for Braces?
Getting braces is an orthodontic treatment that will not only move your teeth along the gumline but will also fix your bite. The first part is relatively easy, but moving the upper or lower line of teeth completely requires not only more time but also more force than the braces by themselves can provide; this is where the elastics come in.
Elastic rubber bands provide the necessary force to, over time, move the lower or upper teeth in the direction needed. An orthodontist will use braces and elastics in various configurations in order to fix a variety of problems present in someone’s mouth. For the most part, the rubber bands deal with different kinds of bad bites, but they are also used to reduce the space between teeth.
As stated before, fixing someone’s bite is the most tedious part of the process, but it’s also the most important one. The actual time you will have your braces depends mostly on the time it takes for them to fix your bite. At the same time, something that will heavily impact your overall treatment length is your consistency in wearing the elastics and adherence to your orthodontist’s directions. The prolonged use of them is what creates a change, and failure to use them properly will only delay the process.
What Are the Types of Elastic Bands?
Elastic bands come in various sizes and strengths and even in a couple of materials; usually, orthodontists will choose latex, but there are also synthetic bands for those who are allergic.
As stated in Healthline, there is also another type of classification that divides bands based on their purpose. Here we will explain a few of them, but there are a lot more classes with many different purposes.
Class 1 elastics go horizontally across the teeth on either the upper or lower ones and will usually go from one of the molars to the canine. This way, the teeth will group together and close any gap in between.
Class 2’s main objective is to correct an overbite. This refers to an orthodontic condition when the upper teeth are protruding in front of your lower teeth. The orthodontists manage this result by attaching the bands from the upper canine to one of the lower molars, creating a diagonal. Over time the force made by the elastic band will bring the lower teeth forward as well as pull back the upper teeth.
The purpose of this class is basically the opposite of class 2. While class 2 pushes the lower teeth forward and the upper ones back to correct the overbite, class 3 pushes the upper teeth forward and brings the lower teeth back in order to fix the underbite present. An underbite is when the lower teeth are farther out than the upper ones. Class 3 corrects this by attaching the rubber bands from the upper molars to the lower canine.
How Do You Put Rubber Bands on Your Braces?
Although there are tons of different configurations for rubber bands, there are a few general guidelines to follow. First, you want to know the parts of your braces, more importantly, it’s essential to identify the hook or hooks present in each bracket, as attaching the elastics to any other place on the bracket would be detrimental to your treatment. Try to look for a small metal rod with a round end coming out of the bracket. For the hooks on the molars, you’ll see a metal stick coming out of the bracket turning ninety degrees to be parallel to the gum line.
Second, you will have to remember the teeth that the rubber bands are supposed to attach to. As said before, this will change depending on the patient, but your Peabody orthodontist will always teach which teeth are the important ones.
After that, it should be as simple as just pulling your elastics from one tooth to another. If you have any difficulty with this, the dentist may give you a plastic hook to pull the rubber bands in place.
Even though you will always leave the dentist’s office with your elastics on, there will be plenty of times when you need to reapply them yourself. The time you’ll need to wear your elastics will change from patient to patient. Generally speaking, rubber bands are necessary 24/7, and you’ll have to change them after every meal or every few hours so that you’re not wearing stretched-out elastics.
Orthodontists will take this into consideration and give you the amount needed. In emergencies, you can always ask for more.
If you have any questions on elastics in orthodontics and how they work or would like to make an appointment here at Pavlo Orthodontics, we would be happy to help. You can contact us here for more information.