What the Elastics on Your Braces Do

During your orthodontic treatment with braces, you’ll become familiar with the various aspects of the orthodontic products being used. One of the most important parts of your braces is rubber bands, or elastics. Elastics play a major role in the process of correcting your teeth during your treatment, so it’s worth getting to know a little bit more about what they are and how they work.

What Are Orthodontic Elastics?

It may seem strange to put elastic bands in your mouth, but these bands are specially designed to provide necessary adjustments to your teeth. Orthodontic bands are quite a bit smaller than the typical rubber bands you might think of and are stiffer than conventional rubber bands to provide the force needed for adjustment. Orthodontic elastics are also made to be durable and to last a significant amount of time attached to your teeth.

There are two types of elastic bands you may end up having as part of your orthodontic treatment: elastic ligatures and interarch bands.

Elastic Ligatures

Most likely, you’re familiar with what braces look like. One thing you’ve probably noticed when you see someone with braces or a photo of braces is the tiny bands that surround each bracket of the braces. These small elastic bands hold the archwire in place against the bracket. The level of tightness of your elastic bands also helps in creating the pressure needed to straighten your teeth.

Your elastic ligatures will stay on your braces throughout the course of your treatment, and your orthodontist will often adjust or replace them when you go for your follow-up appointments. Many orthodontists have these bands in different colors, which means you can get them in your favorite colors, be festive for the holidays, or wear the colors of your school or favorite team.

Interarch Bands

Whether you get traditional metal braces or the Invisalign Clear Aligner System, you could also have interarch elastic bands. Rather than helping straighten your teeth to fix issues of crowding, large spaces, or crookedness, interarch bands fix problems with the jaw alignment. Interarch elastic bands run from the lower jaw to the upper jaw, connecting at attachments on your brackets, or on your teeth when it comes to Invisalign.

The pressure created by the interarch wires helps fix instances of overbites or underbites. As you wear your interarch bands with your braces, the pressure pulls the jaw in a direction that corrects your bite over time. In the instance of an underbite, the elastics attach towards the front of the jaw on the bottom and attach towards the back on the upper jaw, and vice versa for instances of an overbite.

When it comes to interarch bands, you’ll most likely wear these for the full length of your treatment, but you will need to replace them frequently yourself rather than waiting until an appointment to have them changed.

To learn more about how elastics play a role in your treatment, contact Austin Orthodontics today!