Elastic bands are often essential to orthodontic treatment. Small elastics fix the braces wire to the brackets on teeth, and longer bands are sometimes used to adjust the position of the jaw and the bite between the upper and lower teeth. Elastics for braces may need extra cleaning and care, but they can also be a fun way to express yourself with colors and styles.
How Are Elastics Used for Braces?
It's the flexible stretching qualities of elastics that make them useful in orthodontic treatment. A set of traditional braces consists of three components: brackets that are bonded to the teeth, an archwire that runs through the brackets, and ligatures that fix the archwire to the brackets. The ligatures are small elastic bands. When it's time to adjust the braces, the orthodontist pops off the stretchy elastic bands, adjusts the archwire and then fixes it to the brackets again with new ligatures.
Another use for elastics in orthodontics is to connect brackets on the upper teeth with brackets in the lower teeth. These elastics are called
What Are Orthodontic Elastics Made From?
Most elastics for braces are made from natural latex. The journal The Angle Orthodontist explains that natural latex rubber is the traditional base ingredient for elastics for braces. Elastics manufacturers also add chemical stabilizers and preservatives to the natural rubber as they process it; however, there's no standard composition of ingredients in the final product. Consequently, elastics made from latex can vary quite a bit in their elasticity, resilience
Although latex is a safe material, it can be an allergen for some patients. Orthodontics patients who have an allergy to latex can develop symptoms like an inflamed mouth, oral sores and, in very rare cases, difficulty breathing. Many children discover a latex allergy long before they're old enough to be fitted with braces since the natural rubber is also present in balloons, bandages and bottle nipples, explains University of Utah Health Radio.
A life-threatening allergic reaction to elastics is unlikely, but if you're worried you may be experiencing severe symptoms of an allergy to latex, remove the elastics if possible and see a doctor immediately. For patients who are allergic to latex, non-natural elastics offer an alternative solution. These bands are made from silicone, polyurethane plastic or another artificial polymer, and they work the same way as natural latex.
Elastic Band Colors
Elastics aren't the only option for ligatures on braces, but they're the only one where the patients can choose the colors they want. According to the Mayo Clinic, braces ligatures can also be made of tiny wires or the brackets can include a sliding mechanism to hold the wire. Yet children, teenagers
Patients can choose colors that complement their skin tone, improve the appearance of their teeth or just make a fun statement. Certain colors of elastics can even help make your teeth look whiter. Clear elastics are an option for those who want their braces to look less noticeable.
Interarch elastic bands are longer than braces ligatures and are used to help fix a misaligned bite. The Braces Guide explains how
You might hear your orthodontist refer to the "class" of
Interarch elastics are available in different lengths to fit the size of the gap between the upper and lower bracket hooks, exerting the correct amount of pressure but allowing a patient to open their mouth comfortably to speak. When the elastics are adjusting a misaligned bite they must generally be worn all the time except when eating or brushing your teeth. However, if the elastics are only needed for light maintenance, then the orthodontist may only prescribe nighttime wear.
It's the consistent tension on the teeth and jaw that makes
Caring for Elastics for Braces
Orthodontists are responsible for caring for elastic ligatures, but patients must care for their
If elastics for braces are a part of your orthodontic treatment, take advantage of the opportunity to choose colors and follow the advice of your orthodontist if you have