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What Do the Rubber Bands Help Do When Used on Traditional Braces?

Posted on 1/24/2022 by Nancy Shiba DDS
What Do the Rubber Bands Help Do When Used on Traditional Braces?All of us knew that one kid with a set of braces and large rubber bands threaded between the top and bottom brackets. The one that comes to my mind was a popular red-headed girl whose braces and rubber bands were always some combination of pinks and purples. Those rubber bands are called elastics by orthodontists, and they are essential in correcting and adjusting the bite of the wearer. And while they aren't always necessary for people wearing braces, they help to fix overbites, underbites, and a host of other dental issues.

Why Are They Needed?

Traditional braces operate by having brackets placed on the surface of each tooth and a wire threaded over each bracket. Each time the wire is tightened at a checkup appointment, it becomes shorter, and the pressure helps to pull the teeth into the correct alignment. In short, traditional braces help fix the placement of teeth, not the placement of the bottom jaw. Altering the placement of the bottom jaw is key to creating a professional-looking smile—assuming that it is needed. There are many times when braces are needed, but bite correcting elastics are not.

How Do They Work?

Elastics work by applying pressure in the direction that is needed to fix the bite. The consistent pressure helps to realign the bottom jaw with the top, and the process can happen at the same time as teeth alignment. However, because elastics are relatively weak material in comparison with their metal supports, they need to be changed often, usually more than once every 12 hours. To learn more about braces, elastics, teeth alignment, or the different kinds of bites, reach out to us, and we'll work with you to provide the best resolution for your situation.

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Dental Blog • Nancy Shiba, DDS
Nancy Shiba, DDS, 125 N Jackson Ave, Suite 103, San Jose, CA 95116-1914; (669) 306-7669;; 7/18/2024