rubber bands on braces, what do they do?

What Do the Rubber Bands on My Braces Really Do?

If you’re sporting brand new braces, you may be unsure about what all the parts and pieces do. You know they’re all working together to correct your smile, but how?

Some of the main components of braces are brackets and wires. Brackets, as you’ve discovered, attach to your teeth and wires have the responsibility of moving the teeth to the desired locations within the mouth. What about the rubber bands? Depending on your treatment, you may have a couple of different types of rubber bands, so let’s talk about them.

Elastic Ligatures

The first type of rubber band commonly used with braces is the elastic ligature. These tiny bands have a very important job to do throughout your treatment. Attached to the brackets, which are in turn attached to the teeth, ligatures serve as an anchor point for the archwire.

The archwire is important in that it is responsible for guiding the teeth into alignment. It is attached to the brackets on each tooth with a ligature. Many patients have fun choosing the colors of their ligatures; however, clear options are also available for those who want their treatment to remain discreet.

Rubber Bands

Rubber bands are another piece of treatment altogether that not every patient will need. For those who require a little extra help correcting their bite, rubber bands may be used to help improve the alignment of the upper and lower jaw. During the phase of treatment to correct the bite, rubber bands are attached to hooks on the brackets on the upper and lower teeth to help guide the jaws into alignment. Depending on what bite issue is being corrected, the placement of these rubber bands will vary.

Rubber Band Responsibilities

While you won’t have to do anything with your ligatures, it’s important to adhere to the directions given by your orthodontist when it comes to wearing your rubber bands for maximum results. Failure to wear your rubber bands properly can result in increased treatment duration and even lack of progress. Tips to keep in mind when it comes to your rubber bands include:

  • Wear them 24 hours a day
  • Remove them only to brush and floss
  • Change the bands three to four times daily (or every 12 hours)
  • Hooking the elastics onto your braces properly

It is recommended that you wear your rubber bands even while eating and drinking, replacing them afterwards. Your orthodontist will give you detailed instructions on how to properly attach and wear your rubber bands. If anything is unclear to you, it’s important to ask questions. The last thing you want is to be wearing your rubber bands incorrectly and not getting the most out of this portion of your treatment.

As you can see, rubber bands and elastic ligatures have important jobs to do during the duration of your treatment with braces. Take care of them and be sure to ask any questions you may have about them. Your orthodontist is there to help!