Dr. Eric Leber
05/10/2017

Elastic-Wear During Treatment

"There are rubber bands all over my house! Little tiny things on the bathroom floor, in my washer and my dryer. On the kitchen counter, the living room table, even in the baby's diaper bag! They are everywhere except in my daughter's mouth! It wouldn't be so bad if I could find another use for them but they're just too small." A mom really did say this to me and I could relate having found elastics all over my own house when my kids were in braces! Those little nuisances end up in the oddest places. One day Leber Orthodontics may have to have a contest for the strangest place someone has found orthodontic elastics!

Those tiny little rubber bands may be annoying but they serve a very important function in your treatment. Without them, we wouldn't be able to get your top teeth to fit nicely with your bottom teeth. Let me explain how they work and hopefully, you'll feel a little more charitable towards them. There are certain movements of the teeth which can't be done through wire adjustments alone. Getting the upper and lower jaws to line up relative to each other requires a vertical force. Elastic bands are prescribed in a certain configuration, such as a triangle or square, to help the peaks (or cusps) of the upper row of teeth to fit into the valleys of the lower teeth, and vice versa. A perfect bite has the appearance of a horizontal zigzag pattern.

Elastic wear is a good example of when the patient has a great deal of control over the outcome of his/her treatment. Wearing the rubber band in the correct configuration and in the amount of time prescribed keeps your treatment on schedule. Not wearing your rubber bands properly can prolong the time for which you have to wear your braces. We know that they aren't the most fun but Dr. Eric wouldn't prescribe them if they weren't a very necessary part of the treatment.

By the way, the leftover elastics are great for creating cool hairstyles or attaching bows to a small dog's hair.


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