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January 28th 2023

The Role Elastics Play in Your Braces

braces rubber bands elastics philadelphia orthodontistsThose tiny little bands that are wrapped around your braces come in dozens of colors to help orthodontic patients show their personality, feel festive, represent their favorite color, or support their beloved sports team. But the elastics aren’t only for show. They do important work beyond fancying up brackets and wires.

The Purpose of Elastics

Orthodontic elastics can be used in multiple ways to shift teeth and address a patient’s bite and misalignment. Before and after photos of orthodontic patients are stunning to see just how much of a difference their efforts make. Some of the ways ortho elastics are used include the following:

  • Close horizontally: They link the brackets on one arch to close spaces between the teeth.
  • Connect: Teeth on the upper jaw are connected to the molars of the lower jaw to correct an overbite.
  • Connect again: To correct an underbite, upper molars and lower teeth are connected.
  • Close vertically: Teeth on the upper jaw are linked with the inverse teeth below on the lower jaw to fix an open bite.
  • Correction: Teeth in the upper and lower jaw are connected with elastics that cross over the front teeth to correct a crossbite.

Characteristics of Rubber Bands in Orthodontics

Rubber bands can be difficult to wear and may break easily, which means the patient will have to reapply their rubber bands from top to bottom from time to time. Knowing the purpose of these elements and how they work can make it a little easier to tolerate their presence.

  • Force: Rubber bands are usually classified by the amount of force they’re able to exert – light, medium, or heavy. They are moving teeth after all and sometimes this job is far more difficult than at other times.
  • Material: Elastics for braces are usually made of either latex or synthetic material. Highly flexible and inexpensive latex is the norm unless a patient has a latex allergy. Latex is often considered the most stable elastic over time.
  • Size: From the tiniest rubber bands to the longer units, every elastic gets the job done over weeks and months to transform smiles into healthy positions. The size of rubber band that’s chosen depends on how far it needs to stretch to work most effectively.

The Smallest Elastics

The archwire that runs through your brackets attached to the surface of your teeth is changed at every checkup at the orthodontist. The length, thickness, and force of the archwire will vary depending on where the patient is during treatment, how well their teeth are moving, and what malocclusions are being corrected.

Elastics go over the archwire and patients get the pleasure of selecting the color or colors they want at every visit. This element is fun to look forward to and gives the wearer an opportunity to express their personality in a new way, especially for tweens and teens who feel like braces make them look like everyone else (this could be good or bad, depending on the adolescent).

Ready to learn more about braces and elastics? Schedule a consultation with Drs. Roberts & de Marsche at Philadelphia Orthodontists in Center City.

Roberts & de Marsche Orthodontics

William W. Roberts III, D.M.D & Tanja J. de Marsche, D.M.D
Orthodontists in Woodinville WA

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