The three main components of braces are the brackets, archwires, and ligatures. Some patients will also need to wear rubber bands with braces. Also known as interarch rubber bands or elastics, rubber bands are used to correct the bite relationship between the upper and lower teeth. They help to ensure that your teeth line up just right when you bite or smile.
Why Do Some Need Rubber Bands and Others Don’t?
To put it simply, some patients have a bite that needs correcting, while others don’t. Dr. Dougherty will evaluate your existing jaw alignment to determine the best treatment plan for you. She may or may not recommend the use of rubber bands as part of your treatment. If you do need to wear rubber bands with braces, be sure to carefully follow our instructions outlined below.
Instructions for Wearing Rubber Bands with Braces
Once you begin the rubber band phase of treatment, it’s up to you! The length of your treatment will depend on how faithfully and precisely you follow these instructions:
- Rubber bands (a.k.a. elastics) are to be worn 24 hours a day, unless you have been instructed otherwise, and only removed to eat and to brush.
- Elastics are to be changed 3 or 4 times a day, since they lose their elasticity.
- Keep extra elastics with you at all times, since they will occasionally break and must be replaced immediately.
- If an elastic hook breaks, don’t wait for your next visit. Call us right away.
- If you run low on elastics between appointments, please call our office. We will gladly send you a new supply in the mail. Notify us immediately so that you do not delay your progress.
- If your teeth become tender, use Tylenol or Advil for relief.
- Rubber bands are effective only if used consistently. Not wearing them one day can set your treatment back by several days.
Remember: The more you wear your elastics, the sooner your braces will be removed!