Kate's Fear of TMJ

Mistakes To Avoid When Using Orthodontic Elastics

If you have braces and if your teeth are also quite stubborn, then your orthodontist may suggest the use of elastics. These small rubber bands add additional pressure and pull the teeth towards the back of the mouth. And, while the elastics are fairly easy to use, there are a few mistakes that you want to avoid while utilizing them.

Doubling Up On The Bands

Elastics are used to add pressure to shift teeth backward. This is necessary if you have an extreme overbite or if your teeth simply do not want to shift like they should. Your orthodontist will choose the elastic and its specific type depending on the type of movement that is required. There are different sizes and types and you may need thicker bands to advance tooth movement as quickly as possible.

And while it is true that your orthodontist can control movement with the elastics, you should never put two elastics on each hook. This will increase force, but the pressure may be too much. If you place too much pressure on the teeth at one time you can actually loosen them and cause a more serious dental issue. Additionally, the added pressure will simply make your mouth feel more sore. In some cases, you can even force the teeth to move too much with will cause an overcorrection.

Not Changing Them Often Enough

Elastics are like small latex rubber bands. And if you have ever stretched a rubber band before, then you know that they become far less elastic over time. This also occurs with the elastics in your mouth and it is the reason why you need to change or switch out your elastics often. 

You should be adding a new elastic at least once a day. However, you will realistically be using four or more throughout the day. Specifically, you want to take out the elastics when you brush your teeth and also when you eat meals and snacks. While the bands can be left in when eating, food can get stuck in the bands and this can lead to cavity issues.

So, make sure you are changing the bands often. Keep a package of the elastics with you and if you have difficulty changing the bands with your fingers, purchase an elastic placer tool. 

If you want to know more about elastics and how to use them properly or other orthodontist services, speak with your orthodontic professional.