Whats The Purpose Of Rubber Bands In Braces?

bracesBraces can turn an uneven smile into something youll be proud of. Although the process seems foreign to us, it is important to learn all we can, realizing the steps it takes to perfect our smiles.

Orthodontists go through years of school, learning the most advanced techniques behind dental correction. Although we cant learn them all, there are different techniques that are interesting to learn about.

Correcting The Bite


The rubber bands stretched from the top teeth to the bottom teeth are used to align the upper and lower teeth together. Depending on the type of overbite or underbite you have, the rubber bands will bring them to sit in the right spot.

Not everybody needs to wear these types of rubber bands. Those who do need them generally only wear them for a short period of their orthodontic care. However, there is one type of band that everybody who has ever worn braces becomes familiar with.

Elastics On The Brackets


While wearing braces, every one of the brackets is surrounded by small elastic. These are changed out with every checkup, while the patient is able to choose the color of the band. Despite helping braces look slightly cooler, these elastics actually do serve a functional purpose.

These rubber bands are called elastic ligatures. The main purpose is to keep the archwire in place on the bracket. Besides this, orthodontists have found a way to use these elastics to focus the movement of the teeth, moving it in the direction needed. There are a few different types of ligatures that are used by orthodontists today:

  • Single elastic ligatures These are the elastics most people notice when looking at braces. They are changed during every appointment because they lose strength the longer they are worn. This allows you to switch the color every six weeks or so, never getting tired of your braces. There are different ways to tie these elastics to the braces, increasing or decreasing the force on the teeth.

  • Connected elastic ligatures These are known as power chain, and also come in different colors and strengths. Their main purpose is to move a large gap together, or move a specific group of teeth all at the same time.

  • Stainless steel wire ligatures These work the same as the two elastic types, but are more secure. These ligatures are usually used when the tooth is twisted out of place, needing a lot of help to move back to where it should be.


Your orthodontist will choose the bands that work best for your teeth. Depending on how bad your teeth are, you may need the strongest type of band.

Learning more about your dental care can be an important step during the process. Know what purpose these components serve, and how they are working for your teeth. If you have rubber bands that you manually put on every day, make sure to wear them. This will help you get rid of your braces sooner rather than later.

Cassie Costner writes on the techniques of orthodontic care. She has worked with McDonough Orthodontics, learning about the purpose of rubber bands, how often to wear headgear, and how to take care of an expander.

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