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Many individuals undergoing orthodontic treatment wonder about the role of elastics and whether they will need to incorporate them into their routine at some stage. For most people, these elastics are a little taboo and many about to undergo orthodontic treatment don’t understand what they are or why they’re used. 

For you to make an informed decision on getting the smile you deserve, we thought we would create this article with all the information you could need on what these colourful and important pieces of the orthodontic journey are.


What are Brace Elastics?

Orthodontic elastics are mostly used with fixed braces which are placed between the upper and lower teeth and provide a direction of force that helps to guide teeth into the desired position. They are used to treat misaligned teeth and correct issues such as underbite, overbite, and open bite among many other dental issues.

The elastics are small and circular and sit around specific hooks or brackets on your braces, they generally run between the top and the bottom jaw and they are used to either close a gap between teeth, pull the upper teeth back and move the lower teeth forward or vice versa. There are 3 degrees of strength of the elastic band, light, medium, and heavy and this is decided by your orthodontists on the day of fitting.

It’s normal to feel some discomfort when the elastics are first fitted as they are moving your teeth into positions they have never been in before but usually taking an over-the-counter painkiller can take away the soreness and discomfort of aching teeth and gums.


Who is Likely to Need to Wear Elastics on Their Braces?

This is dependent on the type and severity of your dental issue. Patients with their top teeth sticking out are likely to need to wear them hooked onto one of the front top 6 teeth and one of the bottom molars. Patients with a reverse bite may also need to wear them but in reverse order. Patients with an anterior open bite (gap between top and bottom teeth) may need to wear elastics on one of the front 6 upper teeth and run directly down and underneath the brackets of the bottom 6 teeth. Lastly, patients with gaps between the back teeth can wear elastics around the top and bottom molars to improve the settling of the bite.


Working Out if You Will Need Brace Elastics

At the time of your assessment, your orthodontist will check your teeth and jaw alignment to see if they are needed, as not everyone with braces will need elastics. Elastics are usually something introduced later into your brace’s treatment, as a way of increasing the force on your teeth. If needed, your orthodontist will fit your elastics and advise you on best practice.


How Long are Elastics Worn on Braces?

As mentioned previously, it is usually around the middle of treatment that elastic bands need to be worn depending on the severity of your dental issue. If mild and your teeth move quickly then you will only need to wear elastics for a short amount of time. Others with a more complex case and slower-moving teeth will need to wear them for longer.

In most cases, it is advised to wear elastics 24 hours a day, including when eating and sleeping. If you are finding it difficult to eat or clean your teeth with the elastics in, it is possible to remove them for a short period, but they must be put back in directly afterwards.

Keeping a packet of spare elastics with you always is advisable in case you need new ones after eating or if one breaks. It is also advisable to change them regularly as they lose their effectiveness over time.


Caring for Your Brace Elastics

Your orthodontist will talk through changing out your elastic bands, as you will need to do this regularly. Changing your elastics regularly, always at the same time so the forces exerted from them are equal, and multiple times a day is vital in ensuring that they provide the most benefit.

It may seem unsafe to keep elastic bands in your mouth, but in the unlikely chance that they will break, the elastics are small and thin enough that you will barely feel them ping. However, it is possible to have an allergy to latex, if you have this allergy then tell your orthodontist before fitting as there are synthetic bands available.

Elastics for braces can also be fun, as you can choose an array of colours which can be changed at every check-up.


Chorley Orthodontics: Your Expert Orthodontist in Chorley

Here at your expert orthodontist in Chorley, we boast a team of professionals, expertly trained in all aspects of orthodontic care. If you have been advised that elastics will be needed as part of your treatment, it is understandable to feel a little anxious but we want to emphasise that elastics are just a small part of the journey in achieving the smile you want.

At Chorley Orthodontics, we specialise in providing high-quality orthodontic care to our patients and in a range of treatments including metal braces, tooth-coloured braces, hidden lingual braces, and Invisalign.

If you have questions about getting braces and what it involves then contact Chorley Orthodontics today to book a free consultation and find out more about the treatments available at your expert orthodontist in Chorley.


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