What Do Rubber Bands Do For Braces?

What Do Rubber Bands Do For Braces?


Rubber bands are an essential part of braces for some people. While braces themselves assist with your dental health by moving teeth and jaw into alignment, rubber bands apply more force to a specific area of the archwire and brackets that make up the braces attached to your teeth.

Not everyone who wears braces needs rubber bands, however. But when they are used, it is to employ greater force on one part of your mouth in order to resolve a specific dental issue. 

How Rubber Bands are Used 

Rubber bands can be positioned in a variety of ways, connecting to the brackets on braces using small metal hooks. They’re made either from latex or synthetic material. 

They’re used most commonly to help adjust misalignments in the jaw, including: 

  • Overbites and Underbites
  • Crossbite
  • Open bite

They are also used to adjust the positioning of or space between teeth, and push a backward-leaning tooth forward. 

Exactly how rubber bands are used depends on the strength of the bands themselves, which can be light, medium, or heavy in force. The different sizes of rubber bands also dictate specific use, as does how far a band needs to stretch. 

Rubber Band Positioning is Based on Use

Some rubber bands may be positioned horizontally to link brackets on your jaws, and assist in closing gaps between teeth. 

Others connect teeth on the upper jaw to lower molars in order to correct overbite.

And some may connect the teeth on the lower jaw to upper molars to correct underbite. 

Vertical placement of rubber bands, positioned between teeth on the upper jaw and teeth on the lower jaw, below can correct an open bite. And, rubber bands are also used to correct crossbite, by connecting teeth on the upper and lower jaw while crossing over front teeth. 

When Are Rubber Bands Worn?

One of the most commonly asked questions is when rubber bands are worn. It depends on each patient, and while some will wear rubber bands at the beginning of the teeth correction process, others may only use them as the end of treatment nears.

And, of course, not everyone needs to wear rubber bands with braces. 

Because rubber bands wear out, losing their elasticity and ability to exert force, they need to be changed frequently, often several times a day. And, sometimes the bands may simply break. With that in mind, you should keep spare rubber bands for your braces with you in order to easily replace them.

Although rubber bands are usually worn all the time once provided by your orthodontist, there are exceptions:

  • Some patients only need to wear rubber bands at night
  • Some may remove the rubber bands if it's difficult to eat
  • Rubber bands are removed so that you can better brush and floss your teeth 

Caring for Your Teeth 

Caring for your teeth is important at all times, and even more so while wearing braces with rubber bands. Plaque can build up around these areas on the teeth, potentially causing cavities, so it is important to brush and floss regularly and carefully. 

  • Food can become trapped in your braces, so it’s important to brush after every meal with a soft-bristle toothbrush 
  • Try to avoid foods that are sticky, hard, or overly crunchy 
  • If a rubber band comes off or breaks, replace it with a new band as soon as possible

Ready to Find Out More About Braces and Rubber Bands?

Whether you wear traditional braces that require rubber bands or braces without rubber bands, correctly aligning your teeth and your jaw are important facets of your dental health.

And, from metal braces with and without bands to early treatment expanders, we have the right option for you. If you’d like to learn more about braces or you’re ready to schedule an appointment, give us a call at Hass Family Orthodontics at 828-464-5300.Or, request an appointment online.