The Breakdown on Elastics: What Do Bands Do for Braces?

Jun 8, 2023 | About Orthodontics

little girl with ceramic braces

When it comes to orthodontics and braces, every component plays a crucial role in achieving that perfect smile through teeth alignment. One crucial tool in you orthodontic journey to straighten teeth and correct bite problems is our topic of conversation today: orthodontic rubber bands or elastic bands.

Here at Pura Vida Orthodontics, we love elastics, rubber bands, and other things that let our patients add some flair to their treatment. But today we aren’t going over the fun colors that you can strap onto your traditional braces. We’re breaking down the fundamentals of wearing rubber bands – how they work, what they are, and more common questions!

Let’s dive into it.

Rubber Bands: What are Elastics for Orthodontic Treatment?

Rubber bands (also called elastics) are tiny, stretchy synthetic bands of medical-grade latex, and they attach to different parts of your braces. They come in different sizes and strengths (and even colors), depending on your bite issues and tooth alignment.

Generally speaking, many patients only need the steady pressure of brackets and wires to align teeth, but sometimes we need a little extra pressure to get everything into proper alignment. That’s where elastics come in.

Moving Lower & Upper Teeth with Rubber-Band Power

When your braces require some additional pressure to get the job done, rubber bands step into the spotlight. These tiny powerhouses exert a consistent, gentle force capable of nudging lower teeth forward, shifting the lower jaw forward to correct jaw misalignment, and more. Little hooks on your brackets hold them in place, spanning across upper and lower teeth. This setup creates a pulling force that can be directed either diagonally or vertically, depending on your specific needs.

elastic orthodontic rubber bands for braces

When you wear elastics, the correct position on your braces depends on your orthodontist’s instructions. An elastic band can be used for entire groups of teeth or even individual ones, with the flexibility to target specific teeth based on whether you need to move upper teeth forward, shift front teeth or bottom teeth, or just twist an upper canine or lower molar. The magic of rubber bands extends to correcting various dental issues such as overbite, open bite, underbite, or crossbite problems.

Depending on the direction of the required force, you’ll use either Class II or Class III elastics (different strength and size rubber bands) arranged as diagonal or vertical elastics.

Do I Need Elastics for My Ortho Journey?

The need for rubber bands in your orthodontic treatment depends on your specific dental issue. If your treatment involves correcting the alignment of your jaw or bite, there’s a high chance you’ll need to use elastics.

When do you find out? At your complimentary consultation, of course. The orthodontist will examine your mouth, jaw, and bite to identify any alignment issues that might require you to wear rubber bands. If elastics are recommended, your orthodontist will provide detailed instructions on how, when, and where to wear them.

Do Elastic Bands Hurt?

As your mouth adjusts, you may feel some discomfort from a rubber band or two. But don’t worry, your jaws and chompers will get used to the new feeling. You should never have pain with bands. And of course, remember that using extra rubber bands will put too much pressure on your tooth, so only use rubber bands according to your instructions!

Getting Started with Pura Vida Orthodontics

While they may seem small, elastics play a big role in successful orthodontic treatment. They help to move teeth and adjust jaw alignment, bringing you one step closer to your perfect smile.

Are you ready to get started with braces (or Invisalign)? Then it’s time to talk to Pura Vida about your ortho options! We’re all about the little things – including rubber bands – and that means making sure that your journey to a brand-new you is easy, simple, and straightforward. Schedule your smile consultation today!

young girl with new braces smiling about starting orthodontic treatment