What are orthodontic rubber bands and why is my orthodontist wanting me to use them?

- April 1, 2024

Orthodontic rubber bands, also known as elastics, are small elastic bands that are used in orthodontic treatment to help correct the alignment of teeth and jaws. These rubber bands are typically made of medical-grade latex or latex-free materials.

Orthodontic rubber bands are attached to brackets or hooks on braces and also on the hook on clear aligners and create additional force to move the teeth into their desired positions. They work in conjunction with the braces or other orthodontic appliances to apply pressure and guide the teeth and jaw into proper alignment. When you are a teen, your body is going through rapid growth and orthodontic treatment has the capacity to modify jaw growth to create a harmonious alignment of teeth and jaw. Once you are an adult, the elastics will move the teeth instead of modifying jaw growth to create a stable bite.

The rubber bands are available in different sizes, strengths, and configurations, depending on the specific treatment needs of the individual. Dr. Nizam prefers two sizes, Bears and Impala’s. We usually start out with the lesser intensity elastic such as Bears and once you are comfortable, you will be upgraded to the Impala elastics. They can be worn in various ways, such as vertically, diagonally, or in a crisscross pattern, depending on the Dr. Nizam’s instructions. In order for elastics to do what they are suppose to do, they have to be worn at least 20 hours a day. Once your bite is corrected, Dr. Nizam will ask you to drop the number of hours to 8-10hrs/day, which is usually sleeping hours. This is usually a very exciting news for all our patients.

Although elastics take some time to get use to. Once you have mastered the art of putting elastics on and off, it is really easy to wear them 20hrs/day even at school and work. It is important to follow the Dr. Nizam’s guidelines regarding the wear and care of orthodontic rubber bands. They may need to be changed regularly to maintain the desired force and effectiveness. Consistent and proper use of rubber bands can help achieve optimal orthodontic results and improve the alignment of teeth and jaws.

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