Braces and clear aligners help create straight, beautiful smiles, but they don’t always do it alone. Sometimes, they need a bit of help realigning the jaws or back teeth. That’s where rubber bands come in. What do rubber bands do for braces? These elastics are used to help move the jaws into their proper position so that you bite properly. Otherwise, your bad bite could lead to jaw pain, excessive tooth wear, and tooth damage.
Appel Orthodontics often uses rubber bands with our clear ceramic braces and Invisalign to help our patients get a truly straight smile. We often have patients ask, “what are rubber bands on braces for?” We’re happy to explain the function of rubber bands for braces and why it’s so incredibly important to wear them as we prescribe.
Types of Rubber Bands for Braces
Rubber bands are used with braces often, but people may not realize that rubber bands can be used with Invisalign, too. They can, and they help the same way as with braces. These rubber bands are different from the tiny colored rubber bands that were used to hold the archwire to traditional braces. Instead, these rubber bands tend to stretch from the upper jaw to the lower jaw. Tiny posts on your brackets or buttons on your Invisalign trays hold the rubber bands in place.
There are three types, or classes, of rubber bands:
- Class 1 elastics: These close the gaps between your teeth and stretch from the upper first or second molar to the upper canine’s hook.
- Class 2 elastics: These repair an overbite by pulling the upper teeth back and moving the lower teeth forward.
- Class 3 elastics: These repair an underbite by pulling the bottom teeth backward and moving the upper teeth forward.
We may provide one or more of these classes of rubber bands throughout your treatment. We’ll show you how to put the rubber bands on your braces or Invisalign, and we’ll tell you how long you need to wear your rubber bands. Some patients need to wear them almost the entire treatment period, while others may not wear rubber bands at all. We’ll let you know during your free initial consultation.
Are Rubber Bands for Braces Safe?
The rubber bands we give you for your braces are different from normal rubber bands. These are made with non-toxic, medical-grade latex. They’re made to put just the right amount of pressure where they are placed on the teeth. If you’re allergic to latex, let us know immediately! There are non-latex versions of these dental rubber bands. We’ll be happy to provide those instead, so that you can remain safe throughout your treatment.
Patients have asked, “what happens if I swallow one of my braces rubber bands?” Don’t worry! Because they are made of a non-toxic material, they shouldn’t do harm and should go through your digestive system normally. Just don’t make a habit of it.
Do you wear rubber bands with braces at night? Yes! If you only need to wear them a few hours a day, overnight is fine. Usually, we ask you to wear your rubber bands at least 22 hours a day, taking them out for eating and brushing and flossing your teeth. Once you remove them, throw them away! Don’t ever reuse your rubber bands. You could add bacteria to your mouth that could make you sick. Plus, let’s be honest — it’s kind of gross.
Tips for Rubber Bands With Braces
What happens if you do need rubber bands with braces? We have a few tips to help you out.
- You may get more than one class of rubber bands to wear. Make sure you don’t mix them up and put the right rubber bands on the right posts! If you have any questions, just ask us!
- Make sure you wear your rubber bands at least 22 hours a day, and don’t reuse them. Take extras with you if you go out, so you can replace your rubber bands if you take them out for eating.
- You may feel some discomfort when you start using rubber bands. Don’t stop wearing them! Instead, let your mouth get used to them, and the discomfort should subside in a few days. If needs be, rinse your mouth in warm salt water or use an over-the-counter pain reliever to treat the discomfort.
- Don’t double your elastics in the hopes of speeding up your treatment. It won’t, and in fact, it may damage your teeth and jaws.
- Ask us for more if you run out of rubber bands and need some right away. You don’t want any gaps in wearing your rubber bands.
- Finally, make sure you use the rubber bands we prescribe to you. Regular rubber bands are toxic and can make you ill, so don’t try any home solutions if you run out of rubber bands. Call us!
Rubber Bands for Braces in Philadelphia, PA
Rubber bands are a great tool for braces and Invisalign to help align your jaws properly. They’re very important when it comes to giving you a truly straight bite. Appel Orthodontics can show you how to wear your rubber bands properly. The end result will be a straight bite and a beautiful smile you’ll be proud to show off! If you’re ready for braces in Philadelphia, PA, or Invisalign in Philadelphia, PA, schedule an appointment today and see what we can do for you!