Although we specialize in Invisalign treatment, there are times where traditional braces will be the treatment of choice. An inevitable part of orthodontic braces is elastics. You may wonder, why do I need those rubber bands anyways? It wouldn’t be the first time we were asked that, so we’re going to give you the low-down on everything you need to know about elastics.
Ligatures Vs. Inter-Arch
Did you know that there are two different types of elastics used in conjunction with braces?
Ligatures are the small bands that are placed around your brackets. These are the elastics that you can pick and choose from a variety of colours! They are used to hold the archwire in the slot on the bracket of each tooth.
Inter-arch are the elastics that are used to apply pressure to the jaw to correct a bite misalignment such as an overbite or underbite.
What Do They Do?
Ligatures are pretty straight forward, in that they keep your brackets and wires together so that your braces are working effectively on your smile. Inter-arch rubber bands allow for a little bit more customization.
Think of brackets, archwires, and ligatures as being instrumental in horizontal movement along the gumline. Now think of inter-arch elastics as being instrumental in vertical movement between your upper and lower jawbone. In essence, these little guys are to pull the jaw forward or back in order to fix an underbite or overbite.
When Do I Wear Them?
Although elastics can initially be uncomfortable, it’s important to tough it out. The use of elastics, when worn properly, will keep the treatment timeline on track. Just like your braces, after the first little while, you will get used to the bands and may not even notice they are there! In the majority of cases, elastics must be worn 24 hours a day.
Some dental professionals recommend taking them out to eat, floss, or brush. Make sure you are clear with your orthodontist what the best option is for your treatment.