Will I Need Rubber Bands with My Braces?

Will I Need Rubber Bands with My Braces?
Posted on 11/29/2017

During the course of orthodontic treatment, a patient with braces may have to wear elastic rubber bands to help with the correction of their malocclusion.

Rubber bands come in different lengths and colors, and they place forces on the teeth and jaws to move teeth, and therefore, help correct many different orthodontic problems.

Certain brackets have hooks where the elastics are stretched in various ways. Sometimes we even place the hooks right on the wires!

Some orthodontists will have hooks on every posterior bracket which makes it a little more difficult to keep clean. Most orthodontists have hooks on the cuspid and molar brackets only. These hooks can be used for various attachments, like springs and rubber bands to help move the teeth. The majority of the time, these hooks are used for elastic rubber bands.

Rubber bands can be used in many different configurations. Normally, they are used inter arch which can be from top to bottom, side to side or front to back.

A typical example is a patient that has an excessive overjet (overbite). An overjet is measured by the distance from upper incisors to lower incisors when the teeth are occluding (biting down). A patient who has a Class II malocclusion has a large overjet. In a growing child, rubber bands can slow the growth of the upper jaw and enhance the forward growth of the lower jaw. The picture below shows an excessive overjet and correction with orthodontic rubber bands.

How often are rubber bands worn?

There are exceptions, but usually when a patient is asked to wear rubber bands, it is usually for 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. The only time rubber bands are taken out of the mouth is when the patient eats or brushes their teeth. You wear them while you sleep, and you should change them 3 to 5 times a day. The length of time you wear elastics varies from patient to patient.

Once the correction has occurred, the rubber bands are not worn as much and slowly you are weaned off of them. So when your orthodontist asks you to wear rubber bands, wear them. They are very important in creating a proper occlusion.

Moral of the story? Wear your elastics… Get your braces off sooner!