When Do I Get Rubber Bands?

After a few visits to your Orthodontics specialist, you have finally gotten accustomed to the little discomfort after adjustments, and suddenly they make an appearance. Yes, we are talking about the elastics (rubber bands).

Then your orthodontic visit finishes, and you feel like it is your first-time wearing braces again. It is not only about the extra pressure but the feeling of having your mouth a bit restricted.

However, elastics (rubber bands) are a major player in your treatment success. It turns out elastics exert steady pressure helping move certain teeth to correct your bite.

If you want to see it differently, they might be called “small heroes” in the battle to conquer a final objective, a healthy and beautiful smile. So, we encourage you to think about the outcome.

Yes, there are several steps, requirements, and efforts patients must undergo to see results, but you will find a pleasant reward during the journey, seeing progress and, in the end, the result.

So, you might be asking yourself, what does orthodontic treatment success require? Well, the most important part is compliance with your orthodontist’s recommendations, and one of these recommendations is wearing your elastics all the time.

This short but insightful article addresses two major concerns of orthodontic treatment related to the “small heroes” elastics. First, we will shortly tell you what role they play in Orthodontic Treatment. In different words, we will define How do elastics help your orthodontic treatment? And what are the types of elastics used in Orthodontics?

How Do Elastics Help Your Orthodontic Treatment?

It is all about physics, but we don’t want to go that far explaining it. In a few words, a misaligned tooth reacts (moves) due to the pressure that the “U” shaped wire exerts.

The wires shape is a staged desired alignment of teeth that slowly molds with each adjustment to the final result. Brackets hold the wires. In some cases, elastics serve to fixate the brackets.

Stress creates an action and reaction force in which the wire tries to get back to its former position, slowly pulling teeth and repositioning them. The action and reaction also stress a specific tooth that pushes one another in a sort of chain reaction.

However, there are malocclusion cases that require extra effort, like the case of jaw repositioning. In such cases, elastics attach to brackets with hooks. Not all brackets have these hooks.

An Orthodontist plans the complete treatment, knowing beforehand which teeth will have these hooks. Elastics hold on to two separated hooks exerting additional stress. The brackets apply force to the band that stretches. At the same time, the band applies force in both directions.

Finally, the band exerts a constant forth and back force, altering the positioning of the jaws and teeth.

What Are the Elastic Bands Used in Orthodontics?

We have discussed the elastic (rubber bands) function. However, to grasp a better idea of its hero powers, it is crucial to know a little bit about the types of elastics used depending on the type of malocclusion. So here, we try to depict the best description possible for each elastic type and orthodontic case.

Types of Elastic Bands Used in Orthodontics?

Each type of elastic band it’s different according to its function. They look cute and fun, and sometimes they can even look complex, but they have a purpose to fulfill.

It’s essential always to follow your orthodontist’s instructions on how to wear and care for your elastic bands to ensure the best results.


These are small elastic bands that your orthodontist uses to hold the archwire in place on the brackets. These are the most common type; almost every patient with conventional braces uses them.

They come in a variety of colors and shapes. Since you have to change them at each adjustment appointment at the dental’s office, you can experiment with different color combinations.

Interarch Elastics

You may have heard these by the name of rubber bands. Orthodontists use them to correct bite problems such as overbites, underbites, and crossbites.

Inter-ach elastic bands connect the upper and lower arches of teeth, and patients only wear them for specific amounts of time each day.

Class II Elastics

Your orthodontist may also call them “headgear elastics” Patients have them when a class II malocclusion is present, meaning when the upper teeth protrude too far forward over the lower teeth.

Class II elastic bands attach to hooks on the back of the upper archwire and the lower braces.

Class III Elastics

These help correct class III malocclusion, where the lower teeth protrude too far forward over the upper teeth.

As with class II elastic bands, they attach to hooks on the back of the lower archwire and the upper braces.

Vertical Elastics

Your orthodontist will use this when they need to correct a vertical discrepancy between the upper and the lower teeth.

They attach to hooks on the upper and lower archwires and help to close or open the bite accordingly to the patient’s needs.

When Do You Need Elastics Bands With Braces?

Teeth Gap

Sometimes there is an abnormal lack of space between teeth. For example, class 1 elastics attach to a hook located in the bracket on the first or second molar, in the same lateral quadrant of the opposite hook of the bracket adhered to the cuspid tooth. This generates pulling stress to get the cuspid to move to its proper position.

Overjet or Overbite and Class II Elastics

An overbite is when the upper teeth protrude too far forward over the lower teeth.

Orthodontists use Class II elastics to fix this malocclusion. This elastic type goes from a hook in an upper tooth to a hook in a lower tooth, pulling back the upper teeth and pushing the lower teeth forward.

This serves to reposition the maxillary, moving it back to its proper position.

Underbite and Class III Elastics

Class III malocclusion, or underbite, is when the lower teeth are the ones protruding too far forward over the upper teeth.

The mechanics applied to correct an underbite with elastics are similar to the mechanical movement of overjet, but, in this case, the maxillary moves forward while the jaw moves backward.

Class III elastics will connect the upper teeth with the lower teeth and gently pull the lower teeth back.

Call our office today for your complimentary evaluation at (916) 924-8970

Crossbite and Interach Elastics

You have a crossbite when some of your upper teeth sit behind the lower teeth when biting down. An orthodontist can correct this by using inter-arch elastics, which connect the upper and lower arches and help to align the teeth properly.

Open bite and Vertical Elastics

An open bite is when there is a gap between your upper and lower front teeth when biting down.

Your orthodontist can use vertical elastics to correct this. They will connect the upper and lower arches and help to close the gap.

Remember, open bites cause speech and biting problems for children and adults.

Using Rubber Bands to Create Color Combinations in Your Braces

Rubber bands, ligatures, or elastic bands are an orthodontic tools, but since they come in a variety of colors, patients can choose different color combinations to make their braces look more attractive and customized.

To create color combinations with rubber bands, patients can choose to wear different colors on different teeth or use one color on the upper teeth and another color on the lower teeth.

Some patients also choose to use the colors of their favorite sports teams, school colors, holiday colors such as Christmas, Halloween, and Independence Day, or rainbow colors in June.

You can also create aesthetic combinations just for the sake of it. It’s up to your imagination.

How Long Does Orthodontic Treatment Take?

The length of orthodontic treatment depends on the severity of the orthodontic problem and the type of appliance the patient chooses.

On average, traditional braces can take between 18 and 36 months to achieve final results. However, some patients may require shorter or longer treatment plans depending on the complexity of their case.

It’s important to note that orthodontic treatment is a gradual process, and patients should not expect to see immediate results.

How long you have to wear retainers after your straightening treatment is over also varies from patient to patient.

Keeping Good Oral Hygiene During Orthodontic Treatment

Maintaining good oral hygiene during orthodontic treatment is crucial to prevent dental problems such as decay and gum disease. These can’t be out of your dental hygiene routine:

  1. Brush twice or thrice a day.
  2. Floss daily between each tooth and around your gumline.
  3. Avoid sugary and acidic foods and drinks.
  4. Regularly schedule professional dental cleanings.

By following these tips, you can ensure that your orthodontic treatment is successful.

Sacramento Orthodontist

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