Why do orthodontists use rubber bands with braces? Rubber bands are an important part of the orthodontic treatment; they provide the connective force necessary to move the teeth and jaw into the proper alignment. There are several parts to braces:
- First, there are the brackets, which are the square metal pieces bonded directly to the teeth.
- Through these brackets runs the archwire, which, when attached to the brackets, provides the force that helps move the teeth.
- Connecting the archwire to the brackets are the ligatures. Ligatures are the little rubber bands that are wrapped around the individual braces to hold the arch wire in place. They are the part of the braces kids mind wearing the least, because they get to pick the colors. These rubber bands stay on between visits; the orthodontist will change them each time the wire is tightened or the braces are adjusted.
The final part of braces are interarch rubber bands, which are used to adjust bite and jaw position. These are connected to the brackets with hooks, often connecting the top tooth bracket with the bottom tooth bracket to help adjust the position of the teeth in the mouth and the position of the jaw. Interarch rubber bands help to ensure that your child's teeth will line up properly.
These must be removed during meals as well as when cleaning teeth and orthodontic brackets. In addition, they are typically replaced daily because of the wear they endure.
Not every child who gets braces will need interarch rubber bands, as it depends on the child's existing jaw alignment and what the orthodontist recommends to the patient and their parents based upon the models of the teeth and the recommended treatment.