Now that you have a set of braces, you may be wondering what all of the different parts do to help you get the smile you’ve always wanted. Is there a purpose for every single attachment on your teeth? There sure is!
Many patients don’t understand the reason behind certain pieces of the treatment plan, such as rubber bands. Are you asking yourself, “Why do my braces have rubber bands on them?” There are a couple of reasons why your treatment plan may include them.
To Connect the Wires to the Brackets
Your braces are made up of brackets, which are attached to your teeth, and wires that connect them all together. Many patients often refer to the pieces that attach the wires to the brackets as rubber bands, but these are technically called ligatures. These often colorful pieces of the puzzle have a big job to do. They help apply the force to guide your teeth to the correct positions. This force will vary, depending on how much your teeth will need to move.
These ligatures will need to be adjusted at every appointment with your orthodontist because over time, they tend to lose their strength, resulting in less movement of the teeth.
To Help Correct Bite Issues
There is another type of rubber band that may be used with your braces in addition to the elastic bands that wrap around each bracket. This type of rubber band may be recommended for certain patients to help correct the following:
- Bite alignment
- Spacing issues
The main job of this type of rubber band is to help align the jaw properly. The bands are attached to the top and bottom teeth in a manner that will correct each patient’s individual issue. For example, rubber bands may be connected to the top teeth in the front of the mouth and back bottom teeth to help pull the bottom jaw forward and correct an overbite. The opposite configuration would be used to pull the bottom jaw backward to correct an underbite.
These rubber bands must be worn all day, with the only exception being brushing, flossing and changing out the bands. Rubber bands will need to be replaced often to avoid bacteria build-up in the mouth and to maintain the tension needed to correct jaw alignment. Orthodontists recommend changing rubber bands out about three to four times each day, so ideally, the bands should be changed out each morning and after every meal.
The Importance of Rubber Bands
For those with bite alignment issues, wearing rubber bands properly will help you get the most out of your treatment. Failure to wear them correctly often results in a longer duration of treatment. For those with and without rubber bands, the elastic ligatures are important to your treatment plan as well. This is where the force is being applied to help you get a beautiful smile at the end of your treatment.
So, if you’re wondering why rubber bands are such a crucial part of treatment, remember the function of these different types of bands and how they impact your results. And don’t forget, your orthodontist wants you to succeed more than anyone, so listen to their instructions closely. You’ll be on your way to flashing that stunning smile in no time.