Do I have to wear rubber bands with my braces?

Customized for each patient, elastics (or rubber bands) typically stretch over tiny hooks from your top to your bottom braces. They are used in orthodontic treatment to make improvements to your bite. This is usually the longest and most difficult part of treatment, but it’s also the most exciting as your overbite or under-bite finally go away. Full cooperation and commitment with the rubber bands is required and will lead to the best possible orthodontic result in the shortest amount of time.

It usually takes a couple of days to get used to attaching your elastics and at first you might need to use a mirror, but after a little practice you’ll be able to hook them up with your eyes closed. It’s common to remove the elastics during meals if opening your mouth wide enough to eat is difficult. However, we usually recommend eating with them in place (because it’s difficult to remember to put them back on after each meal).

  • DO – Get in the habit of carrying around extra elastics and replace them as soon as one breaks. By consistently wearing the elastics, you may shorten the overall time in braces! Yes, you read that correctly, wear them well and your braces come OFF sooner.
  • DO – Always wash your hands before removing or replacing the elastics.
  • DO – Change them 3-4 times per day (even if they don’t break). Remember, they are rubber bands, so they lose their strength after several hours.
  • DON’T – Double up on elastics if Dr. Crowe has not recommended it. This can cause too much pressure on the teeth and can actually harm the roots!
  • DO – Call us if you run out of elastics.
  • DON’T – Overstretch the elastic or it will lose its strength and it will be ineffective.
  • DO – Have fun with your braces and elastics. There are many different colors available that can let you show off your soon-to-be perfect smile.

Elastics are a key part of your orthodontic treatment, and learning how to remove and replace them is an important part to maintaining your braces. Before we set you on your journey to a perfect smile, we’ll make sure you understand all there is to know about how to take care of your braces. A selfie in the office of your proper elastic position goes a long way in remembering how to attach them properly. Of course, if you have any questions about your elastic wear, please don’t hesitate to contact our office!

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