If you’ve ever seen someone with braces, you probably wondered about the purpose of the colorful rubber bands in their mouth. They aren’t just repurposed office supplies! It might surprise you that these are actually an important part of the orthodontic treatment. Elastics help provide the necessary force to move the teeth and jaw into proper alignment. Here, we explain more about why these bands are so vital to the process of straightening up a smile.
The Anatomy of Traditional Orthodontics
There are several parts to braces:
- There are the brackets, which are the square metal pieces that are bonded directly to the teeth for the entire duration of the orthodontic treatment.
- Then there is the archwire, which runs through and attaches to the brackets to provide force to move the teeth.
- Next, the elastic ligatures are small rubber bands that wrap around each individual bracket to hold the archwire in place and help close up spaces between the teeth. Over time these elastics stretch out and lose strength, so we will change them at each appointment when the wire is tightened or the braces are adjusted.
Specialized interarch elastics are another type of rubber band used in the braces process. Whether or not a person will need them depends on a person’s existing jaw alignment. Patients connect them between the top and bottom braces via hooks on the brackets using a pattern we give them at their last appointment. These elastics adjust jaw position and bite through constant pressure. If worn as much as instructed, they will ensure that teeth line up properly. Unlike the elastic ligatures, these interarch elastics have to be removed during meals and during daily oral hygiene care. They withstand tremendous force throughout the day and have been known to sometimes break and pop out of the wearer’s mouth when speaking or laughing, so it’s best to replace them with new ones every time they are taken out because of how much wear and tear they endure.
Are You Interested in a Straighter Smile?
If you want to transform your smile, contact us at Romeoville Dental Center to ask additional questions about braces or to schedule an appointment so we can discuss your teeth straightening options!