Elastics (Rubber Bands)
Elastics, or rubber bands as you may hear them referred to, ensure the proper fit of your teeth. We use them during the aligning phase of treatment. Today’s braces can straighten teeth fairly quickly, but ensuring those teeth are properly aligned in the mouth is the most precise, and often lengthiest, part of treatment. Elastics ensure the bite will be properly aligned by guiding the jaw to its ideal position. Patient compliance is crucial to ensuring treatment stays on track during this phase of treatment. To ensure efficiency, the elastics must be worn as prescribed by the orthodontist.
For adolescent patients with severe overbites, the Forsus Fatigue Resistant Device is an excellent appliance, and a wonderful alternative to traditional headgear. The Forsus promotes proper growth, which improves the fit of the teeth and works to eliminate an excessive overbite. For many patients, use of the Forsus may eliminate the need for jaw surgery.
A palatal expander is used to widen the upper jaw. By expanding the dental arch, we can eliminate crowding and crossbites in adolescent patients with growing jaws. We attach the palatal expander to the upper arch, either by attaching bands around the teeth or by bonding it over the teeth. When activated, the expander uses gentle pressure on the upper molars to stretch the jaw. When the expander is placed, your orthodontist will explain how and when to adjust it. You’ll continue to wear the expander for a couple of months after expansion is complete to ensure the integrity of the expansion and ensure there is no regression.
Retainers are a crucial part of orthodontic treatment. They ensure the teeth remain in their new, proper locations once straightening and aligning has been completed. Retainers can be removable or fixed, and your orthodontist will instruct you on how to wear and care for your retainer. To ensure your new smile, it is important to wear your retainer as directed by your orthodontist.
Separators or Spacers
Separators, or spacers, look like tiny rubber donuts and are placed between teeth to push them apart to allow for orthodontic bands to be placed. The spacer ensures there will be adequate room to place the orthodontic band around the teeth that require them. It is important to avoid things like sticky foods and toothpicks while the separators are in, and to floss very carefully to ensure the spacers do not become loose.