Rubber Bands in Orthodontic Treatment

One of the most common questions we hear when patients start the orthodontic treatment is “when am I going to start wearing rubber bands?” Patients often wonder how they work? And why are they used?

First of all, it’s important to remember that rubber bands, or elastics, or not used for every orthodontic patient. For those patients that do need them, elastics are primarily used to correct most types of bite problems (overbites, underbites, open bites, and crossbites).There are several options for correcting your bite (i.e. headgear, springs, functional appliances, surgery, etc.), but the most common method is with rubber bands. Rubber bands can pull the jaws forward or backward in order to line up your top and bottom rows of teeth to improve your bite or to speed up the process of correcting your teeth. Even though the primary function of rubber bands is to correct the bite, they can be used for other reasons as well. For example, they can be used to speed up the process of closing spaces between teeth.

Elastics are usually tooth colored so they can “blend in” with the teeth. They are flexible, allowing the patient to move their mouth while talking, yawning and other normal jaw functions. Wearing rubber bands will make your teeth sore because they are making your teeth move. This is very normal. Elastics are easy to remove and replace, allowing the patient to change rubber bands several times daily and facilitating eating and brushing. Rubber bands depend 100% on patient’s cooperation. If not worn as prescribed, they will not work as they are supposed to and your results may be compromised. For your teeth to move there must be a constant pressure for most of the day. Patients who remove elastics only to eat or brush will see fast and consistent results.