Wearing rubber bands is a critical part of your orthodontic treatment. We ask you to wear them 24 hours a day because they are that critical to the process of straightening your teeth. Knowing why your orthodontic rubber bands are important will help you wear them more. Consider the following reasons you need to wear your bands the next time you are tempted to put them aside.
Types of Braces
We offer several different types of braces at our office. Patients wear orthodontic rubber bands when they have traditional metal braces and ceramic braces. When you think of braces, you probably think of metal braces. These are the ones with square brackets on the front of each tooth and a wire that goes through the brackets on top and bottom. Metal braces are the most economical choice when choosing orthodontic care.
A close cousin to metal braces are clear, ceramic braces. These braces look and act like metal braces, except they are white. They have a white color to them because they are made out of ceramic material, which blends into the natural whiteness of your teeth. This is why they are known as “clear braces”. Ceramic material helps decrease demineralization that can happen when patients wear braces and don’t practice good oral hygiene habits. Both types of braces (metal and ceramic) use orthodontic rubber bands at times to move the teeth in a particular direction.
Parts of Braces
Each part of your braces is important when it comes to straightening your teeth in the best way possible in the quickest way possible. Your treatment would be lacking if you were missing any part of your braces, including orthodontic rubber bands.
- Bands – A band is a thin ring fitted to a back molar and cemented to the molar. This is usually made of stainless steel and secures other orthodontic attachments such as hooks, brackets or tubes.
- Brackets – A bracket can be bonded to the tooth with cement or it can be attached to a band. Brackets are usually made of stainless steel or clear ceramic material. They guide and support the archwire into its proper placement.
- Archwire – The archwire guides the shifting of the teeth during orthodontic treatment. Orthodontic attachments (such as the brackets) hold these wires and are made from stainless steel. Some archwires are made of titanium instead of stainless steel.
- Elastic Ties – Available in a variety of colors, elastic ties are small rubber bands that go over the brackets in order to hold the archwire in place.
- Springs – We open or close a space between teeth using the force of a small spring. These springs go between brackets and around the archwire, and are made of stainless steel or titanium.
- Orthodontic Rubber Bands
Orthodontic Rubber Bands
There are several different types of bands for braces. There are orthodontic rubber bands and there are ligatures. Ligatures are the small rubber bands that wrap around the brackets and hold the archwire in place. You will see these bands on children in a variety of colors. We switch out ligatures at every orthodontic appointment and children can mix and match the colors. They go around the brackets and protect the teeth and gums from sharp metal points and are changed when the wire is tightened or the braces are adjusted. These orthodontic rubber bands (the ligatures) are very small, as the brackets are small.
The other type of orthodontic rubber bands adjust your bite and jaw position. These will be slightly bigger orthodontic rubber bands. On your brackets, you have small hooks where these rubber bands attach. Often, you will loop a rubber band around a hook on a bracket on the lower jaw and hook it around another bracket on the upper jaw. Some patients will need several orthodontic rubber bands at a time and others will only need one. These rubber bands will adjust the position of the jaw quicker between visits.
You will commonly see orthodontic rubber bands with child orthodontics. This is orthodontics for children under the age of 10 that need braces to correct bite and alignment issues. Orthodontic rubber bands are critical for making those changes possible. Your child should first see the orthodontist around age 7 or 8. This is a time where we can check that the bite lines up properly and that the adult teeth will come in correctly. If there is a bite or alignment problem, we give your child metal or clear braces to correct that problem. Your child will use orthodontic rubber bands throughout their treatment to provide sufficient force to bring the bite into a straight position.
Although small, orthodontic rubber bands are critical for moving the teeth. With orthodontic care, the teeth shift slowly over time. If you skip wearing these bands, your time with braces will be longer and you won’t be correcting bite and alignment problems. This is why we ask our patients to wear their orthodontic rubber bands 24 hours a day. Each part of your braces is important for creating that beautiful, straight smile you’ve always wanted. To learn more about orthodontic rubber bands or other parts of your braces, call Belmar Orthodontics today at (303) 225-9016!