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Elastics 101

If you wear braces, it is almost guaranteed that elastics (or rubber bands) are somewhere in your future. These tiny, delicate bands may seem like they won’t be able to make much of a difference, but they are little power-houses! As such, elastics are a vital part of your orthodontic treatment. 

What They Do

There are generally two parts to your orthodontic treatment: aligning your teeth and correcting your bite. Braces are excellent at the first of those jobs. The steady pressure your braces put on your teeth moves them into the proper positions inside your gums. However, braces aren’t so good at the second job. That is where elastics come in. Elastics take care of the bite-fixing job, which is actually the hardest part. Your elastics may look wimpy, but when they are worn properly they have the power to align your jaw. 

How to Wear Them

When you get your elastics, the orthodontic team will show you how to hook them on. What you don’t want to happen is to only slightly pay attention to where they go and forget as soon as you get home. Precise positioning of the bands is essential. Pay close attention and don’t leave until you are sure you know where they go. The orthodontic team will also let you know when to wear them. Most rubber bands should be worn all day and all night. These should only be removed to eat, brush your teeth, and change the bands. Sometimes, you will be instructed to wear your bands only while you sleep. Be sure to use a different band each night so that you will get the full band strength every time. 


Just like when you first got your braces on, you can expect your jaw to be sore for the first few days in your elastics. While this is never fun to deal with, you should already know from personal experience that the pain will go away if you wear them as directed. Over-the-counter pain medication, hot compresses, and ice packs can all help in the meantime. 

They may seem small and insignificant, but your elastics do a very important job. Your braces can’t give you your dream smile all on their own. They need the help of these little elastic bands. Because they are removable it might be tempting to take them out. Just remember that every time you do that your treatment will go that much longer!

To learn more about how braces work, click here. And if you are looking for a gentle, experienced, knowledgeable orthodontist then look no further than Sonneveld Orthodontics.