If you’re new to orthodontic treatment, you might have a lot of questions. Mostly about how they’re used. How long do you need to keep braces on for the treatment plan? How do you clean your braces effectively? How often should you brush your teeth? And why are there rubber bands on braces?
Fortunately, the answers come easy. When you first start off with your orthodontic treatment plan, having an idea of what you’re getting into before starting out can clear out a lot of things. Knowing how braces work, for instance, might be an excellent place to start.
Since your teeth anchor in the jawbone, you need to ease them through it to get them to the position they need to be. A treatment plan with braces is designed to do this systematically. They make use of your body’s natural bone-building capacities to move your teeth and jaw into their ideal positions.
Two cells are heavily involved in the bone-building process:
- Osteoclasts. In the case of sustained pressure, your body signals these cells to dissolve parts of the bone at the point of tension. This is to prevent potential fractures.
- Osteoblasts. These cells are what provide your bones with minerals to help them rebuild.
How braces work, then, is to use this mechanism to your advantage. They, too, place sustained pressure on your teeth to trigger this bone-building process. However, they direct the tension so your teeth can move through the jawbone accordingly.
During orthodontic treatment, orthodontists place brackets on your teeth. They then string a wire through it and tighten it depending on how much pressure needs to be placed on the teeth.
While this all sounds run-of-the-mill, there’s still one question left unanswered. If your brackets and wires fix your teeth, why are there rubber bands on braces? And what do they do, exactly?
What is their purpose?
Why are there rubber bands on braces? As it turns out, they’re less fun accessory and more a necessity. This orthodontic treatment moves your teeth and jaw into alignment. What we discussed earlier, however, only seemed to cover the former. So how do you align your jaw during your treatment plan?
That’s why there are rubber bands on braces. While the wire and brackets are what pull your teeth back on track, those small elastic bands—also called elastic ligatures—help bring your jaw into the right bite alignment. Because of this, manufacturers design elastic ligatures incredibly tight. Eventually, your jaw adapts to the movement.
This isn’t the only thing the rubber bands do. Aside from keeping your jaw in alignment, they also further tighten your braces, aiding in your orthodontic treatment.
When do you start wearing rubber bands for braces?
That being said, is there a particular time when you start wearing rubber bands with braces? Not necessarily. But dentists do install them last when you first receive your treatment plan. In this orthodontic treatment, ligatures are the only removable part. Just be sure you replace them after every meal. You wouldn’t want the rubber band to come off the braces, after all.