Traditional braces are made up of brackets, wires, and elastics which are tightened over time to move your teeth into place. Approximately every 8-10 weeks, depending on specific patient circumstances, the braces will be adjusted and soon a brand new smile will emerge! In this blog, we will focus on those elastics.
All patients with traditional braces have tiny rubber bands looped around each bracket (the devices attached to each tooth) to hold the arch wire in place. These are ligatures and they come in various colors. Dr. Alex Schreiber adds, “Children and some adults enjoy choosing fun colors but neutral colored ligatures are also available. These bands stay on until your next orthodontic visit, when they are changed. We change them on each occasion that the wire is tightened or the braces are adjusted.”
Interarch Rubber Bands
Some traditional braces wearers also need additional type of rubber bands called interarch rubber bands. These are used to fix your bite and align your jaw. These bands are connected to the brackets with hooks, and usually connect between the top and bottom teeth. The Interarch rubber bands help to ensure that your child's teeth will line up properly.
Dr. S. Kendall Dunn adds, “Our patients have more responsibility in the case of the interarch bands. They must be worn most of the day and night but should be changed 3-4 times each day. They are removed during brushing and sometimes during meals. They should be replaced afterward, and also replaced if they break during wear.”
The proper use of the interarch bands is integral to the plan for moving your bite into position through the use of pressure. The tension and placement may be changed by your orthodontist at each visit.
We should add that neither the ligatures or interarch bands are the same as household rubber bands. They are a special material designed for use in the mouth.
If you are prescribed to wear interarch rubber bands, wear them proudly and properly. Routine use will distribute any discomfort more evenly and will ensure that your braces can be removed in a timely fashion.