Braces are no walk in the park. They are expensive to install and can be pretty uncomfortable to live with. Your orthodontist will recommend braces to treat a number of conditions. They include overbites, underbites, open bites, spacing, overcrowding, and crookedness.
There are many options for braces, and they all have one working principle. Braces-straighten your smile by exerting pressure which causes your jaw and teeth to move into the correct position. This process is slow and requires patience, commitment, and maintenance practices. However, the results are permanent and worth it. Other than the traditional metallic ones, Vondran Orthodontics offers clear braces, Invisalign, and TMJ treatment.
What Are Orthodontic Rubber Bands
At some point in your treatment, you will require the addition of rubber bands to provide that extra force that sets your teeth in the right place. The orthodontic rubber bands used to align teeth closely resemble the type of rubber bands you can buy from your local office supply store. The difference is in their elasticity. Orthodontic rubber bands are meant to exact a certain amount of pressure over time. Therefore, the rubber bands found in the supply store cannot be swapped for them as they are not capable of delivering the right amount of treatment.
Orthodontic rubber bands are also not ligatures or color ties. Ligatures are mainly used to hold the archwires in place. On the other hand, orthodontic rubber bands are attached to hooks found on the outside of the bracket. Unlike ligatures, elastics can be temporarily taken out and returned without the help of your orthodontist. Elastics are typically made of latex. For those with sensitivity problems, Vondran Orthodontics offers latex-free options.
Why Do We Need Rubber Bands
Orthodontic rubber bands, also called elastics, are essential when treating misaligned teeth. There are some conditions where braces are not enough. Elastics help fix this problem and put you on the track to a more confident smile. We want to perform an exercise with you that involves using a mirror and helping you understand your bite type.
Overbites are diagnosed when your lower teeth disappear behind your upper teeth. Pronounced overbites occur when your lower teeth disappear completely behind and touch the roof of your mouth. An underbite is characterized by your lower teeth directly overlapping your front teeth. You might have an open bite when you look in the mirror and notice significant space between your upper and lower teeth. Irregularly spaced teeth resulting in wide gaps are diagnosed as spacing while crowding causes teeth to overlap due to lack of room.
All these bite types can be fixed by visiting your orthodontist and starting a treatment plan immediately. Postponing it only worsens the issue for you. Plaque buildup, cavities, bad breath, gum tissue damage, difficulty eating and talking, and oral injuries are some of the problems associated with having a bad bite. Set up an appointment with your doctor if you suspect any of the above bite problems.
How To Put Them On
Orthodontic rubber bands are strategically placed in your mouth depending on your bite type and treatment plan. Your orthodontist will show you exactly how it works, so avoid trying to DIY it on your own without supervision. If your treatment plan does not include the use of elastics, then avoid them altogether until you get the go-ahead from your doctor.
Understanding where to put them is just as essential as understanding how to put on braces. So, before you leave the doctor’s office, ensure you know where to attach each elastic. Don’t be afraid to ask questions or request clarification until you understand how it works. As evidenced by a 2012 case study and a 2016 case study, incorrectly placed elastics or online directed DIYs can lead to more misalignment, tooth loss, and the possible need for oral surgery.
You can use your fingers to help guide you through placing your braces. If it feels too slippery or you cannot handle it with your fingers properly, don’t be afraid to ask us for a plastic hook. They help make your work easier.
How Long Do They Stay On
Elastics need to be in your mouth at least 20 hrs in a day. They must offer constant and continuous force on your teeth to help align them. You are advised to keep them on even when eating unless they get in the way of your meal or snack. The only times you can take them off are changing into a new pair, wearing a mouth guard while playing sports, and flossing and brushing your teeth. Your orthodontist will direct you to the right time to keep them on or take them off.
Change your elastics three to four times a day, even if they are not broken. Your orthodontic rubber bands tend to lose their elasticity over time, which may become ineffective for your treatment. To help you remember, change your elastics after breakfast, lunch, supper, bed, and brushing and flossing your teeth. Don’t worry about running out of rubber bands. Call our offices for an emergency replacement, and we will arrange for your pickup. Remember always to use orthodontic rubber bands and not office supply elastics.
Care and Maintenance
Braces and elastics require maintenance practices for your teeth and brackets. Listen to your doctor’s advice to ensure your healthy teeth journey is not derailed by avoidable circumstances. These practices include eating certain types of food, correctly wearing your elastics, and brushing your teeth.
Certain textures of food and snacks will cause you to break a bracket. This would mean an expensive trip to your doctor’s office to replace it. Avoid doubling up on your orthodontic rubber bands. This will cause unnecessary force on your teeth, which causes injury and interferes with your treatment.
Take care of your teeth by brushing and flossing twice daily. Try to get to every nook and cranny in your mouth as much as possible. Plaque is notorious for building up in tight spaces. You could develop cavities in your mouth if you don’t clean your teeth properly.
Ensure you leave your doctor’s office with extra packs of orthodontic rubber bands. Keep them at home, in your school or workplace, and have a spare in your bag to ensure you always have them on hand. Faithfully wearing your rubber bands will ensure your teeth are aligned correctly.
At first, it might sound easier to drop out of it, especially when your jaws feel sore. That means it’s working, and your teeth have started to move. If the soreness interferes with your daily routines, ask for a painkiller prescription from your doctor to help you manage it. It gets easier with time, the discomfort, and maintenance.
Benefits of Orthodontic Rubber Bands
Any patient with braces will tell you they cannot wait until it is over and can finally take them off. Elastics bring that dream closer to earth. They shorten the time you need to wear your braces by providing an extra force. Those are two reasons to get braces-with rubber bands. It cuts down on time and provides that extra pressure. Sooner rather than later, you will walk out of your doctor’s office with a bigger and better smile.
Vondran Orthodontics is committed to helping you keep your confidence, one perfect tooth at a time. When it comes to braces, the earlier we handle it, the better the outcome. Children are the best candidates for braces as their jaws have not finished growing. However, regardless of age, you are not too late. If you are experiencing pain or shy away from smiling, visit us in Little Rock AR and let our experts take a look.