Rubber Bands and Braces
Why use rubber bands with braces? Some people have them, and some people don’t need to use them at all. Along with brackets, archwires, and ligatures, rubber bands are just another part of braces. Rubber bands are extremely helpful as they help move the teeth and jaw into proper alignment. They are connected to the actual bracket and help improve your bite. If your jaw is misaligned, read on to discover how rubber bands might be the option to straighten your teeth and jaw at the same time!
Parts of Braces
Modern technology has changed the lives, and smiles, of millions of patients worldwide who have used or currently use braces. Nowadays, braces can be as inconspicuous as we want, with some brackets being attached to the backs of teeth, rather than the front, for a more aesthetic appeal. With the invention of a variety of orthodontic appliances, such as lingual braces, Invisalign, clear braces, and traditional, the patient can decide what braces fits their oral health goals the best. Along with the many types of braces we learn about, there are also other parts of braces that we aren’t as familiar with, such as “bracket,” “archwire,” “springs,” and “ligatures.” We have heard of the different components of braces, but what does an archwire do? How do springs help adjust our teeth? Depending on your needs, your orthodontist will install any of these appliances to help you get the best smile in the shortest amount of time possible.
Brackets are the square part of the braces that are directly attached to the tooth, usually through a cement that bonds it to each individual tooth. They are usually made of steel or clear ceramic, and they guide the archwire into the appropriate placement. The archwire is held by brackets and is designed to guide the movement of the teeth during treatment. They are normally made from stainless steel, but also can be made with titanium. Springs go between brackets and around the archwire and are also made of stainless steel or titanium. They function as a force that opens or closes a space between teeth. The archwire and the bracket are connected through ligatures, which are the little rubber bands that wrap around each bracket to hold the archwire in place. For adolescents, these are usually the best part about braces because they come in a variety of colors that kids can choose from, and are changed after each orthodontic visit whenever the archwire is tightened. Although ligatures are rubber bands, they are not the same thing as interarch rubber bands, which have a major impact on jaw and bite alignment.
Interarch rubber bands, commonly known as “rubber bands” or “elastics,” ensure that your child’s teeth are lining up properly. They adjust bite and jaw position, such as an overbite or underbite, and are connected to the bracket with hooks. They create a force to move the teeth in a particular direction, specifically closer together. The top and bottom tooth bracket are connected through these bands, which adjusts the position of the teeth in the mouth and the position of the jaw. These rubber bands are removed during meals as well as while cleaning your teeth and brackets. Usually, they are replaced daily because of the wear they endure and their likelihood of breaking if used for too long. When worn to adjust a misaligned bite, interarch rubber bands are typically worn at all times, except for when eating or cleaning your teeth. If the treatment is only minor, you might only have to wear the bands at night. The consistent tension on the teeth and jaw is what makes these bands effective. If a patient doesn’t wear their bands in the prescribed manner, whether it be the length of time is too short or you’re wearing more bands than normal, this can lengthen treatment time and move your teeth in an unintended way. Not every patient will have to use interarch rubber bands, but if your orthodontic prescribes you to wear them, make sure that you follow his or her directions exactly and take good care of your bands.
Do’s and Don’ts of Braces
While braces have revolutionized the dental and orthodontic professions, there are some rules that a patient needs to follow to protect and get the most use out of their orthodontic appliances. Always make sure to keep your teeth clean when wearing braces. Brushing and flossing under the archwire and between the brackets is essential to remove plaque, which can easily build up on your teeth with braces. To make sure that your teeth are being cleaned entirely, replace your toothbrush every three months or as soon as the bristles are frayed. Go to all of your orthodontic appointments so that they can adjust your archwire and monitor your teeth’s movement. If you delay your adjustments, your treatment time can be increased, which can be expensive.
Even though braces are strong, you can still break a bracket or an archwire with the things that you eat. Avoid foods that can get stuck in your teeth or your braces, such as nuts, popcorn, hard candy, ice, and sticky foods like chewing gum or caramel. Try not to eat as much sugary foods as it can lead to tooth decay around the brackets, which can permanently damage your teeth. Especially for active teenagers and adults, use a mouthguard during physical activity or when playing a sport to protect your mouth and jaw from getting hurt. Following this list of do’s and don’ts will increase the likelihood of having a positive and shorter experience with braces.
Getting The Smile You Deserve
For other tips and suggestions about orthodontic appliances and which one is best for you, call Belmar Orthodontics at (303) 225-9016 for a comprehensive exam. With our team of qualified and dedicated individuals, we will provide you or your child with the best orthodontic care for a great price. Call now to learn more!
How Important Is it to Wear Your Orthodontic Rubber Bands?
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!