Straightening your teeth is a great choice to improve your bite, keep your mouth healthy, and shape a smile that you will love to share.
If you’re considering traditional metal braces to straighten your teeth, you may be wondering what the rubber bands attached to your braces will do. The short answer is that they work to align your bite, and are very important when it comes to fixing your bite with orthodontic treatment.
Here’s a closer look at braces, and just how rubber bands fit into the teeth straightening process.
When you first get your braces, it will take an hour or two to position them, because the process includes:
- Bands placed on your back molars
- Special glue placed on your teeth
- Brackets glued on teeth
- Brackets connected with wires
- Braces secured with rubber bands
Dental Hygiene When Wearing Braces
Due to both the brackets and rubber bands, brushing your teeth requires a bit of time when wearing braces. You’ll want to start by rinsing your mouth with water as an easy first step to loosen and free any food particles. Then, start brushing at your gum line at a 45-degree angle. Don’t use too much force so you won’t injure your gums when brushing, and use a soft toothbrush, carefully brushing both back and front of your teeth.
It is important of course to be aware of your brackets and rubber bands, but just relax, it’s not that hard, moving one bracket at a time with your brush to remove as much debris as possible, starting at the top and moving to the bottom.
And when it comes to flossing, if it feels overwhelming or you don’t feel you have the time to floss carefully with your braces, you might want to consider using a waterpik, which works like standard floss but without any risk to your braces and rubber bands. But remember, a waterpik replaces flossing, not brushing itself.
Foods to Avoid When Wearing Braces
You’ll want to avoid sticky foods such as caramel, toffee, and taffy, as well as hard candies which can damage your braces and your teeth. You should also avoid hard foods you need to bite into like whole raw carrots, corn on the cob, and whole raw apples, as well as nuts, and chewy foods such as licorice or bagels. And, avoid crunchy foods like chips, ice, or popcorn.
So What Do Rubber Bands on Braces Do?
Rubber bands are customized for every patient, and stretch out over small loops on the top and bottom brackets. If worn daily, consistently, they work to apply steady pressure needed to guide your teeth into their correct position.
The bands are made from safe, medical-grade latex. They can be removed during meals if it is hard to open your mouth enough to eat comfortably. Our dental team can show you how to remove and replace the bands so that taking them in and out should be easy.
You’ll want to carry some extra rubber bands with you to replace them if they break. Remember, wearing them consistently will shorten the time you need to wear braces themselves.
Be sure to wash your hands before removing them or replacing them, and don’t overstretch the bands as this could cause them to lose strength and be less effective.
Rubber bands are an important part of your orthodontic treatment, and we will make sure you know how to care for them and replace them.