Most people go through having braces when growing up for many reasons. It could be for treating crooked or misaligned teeth, or perhaps adjusting a person’s bite. Whatever the reason, braces will always be there for a person’s dental health. Along with braces are the orthodontic elastics or also called interach rubber bands.
These elastics or rubber are different from the little ones attached to each individual bracket. Orthodontic elastics are small rubber bands that help teeth move through applying tension or pressure. The rubber bands are attached between upper and lower brackets or frontal or back ones.
What Do Orthodontic Elastics Do Exactly?
At times, it may seem like small rubber bands won’t be much of help with dental improvement but these elastics have such a big purpose. Some orthodontic treatment require a bite fixing phase, like in braces, and the orthodontic play their role by helping align your bite. Although this phase is one of the longest among other processes and is also difficult, for the price of having a properly aligned jaw, dealing with these bands are worth it.
One thing about these orthodontic elastics is that it needs the participation of the user. This is really crucial because the user is the one that attaches these bands following the instructions of their dentist. Cooperation and discipline is key when it comes to orthodontic elastics in summary. They have to be placed properly on specific brackets and replaced often so it remains effective. Depending on the dental condition, they might even have to be placed in very specific shape or configuration for it to do its role.
These bands even have specifications to them when it comes to sizes. As the sizes vary, so does the strength of the elastics. Basically, there are three important components of the elastics:
STRENGTH Strength of the bands are generally shown through ounces and have multiple levels ranging from light (2.5 oz), medium (3.5 oz), heavy (4.5 oz), x-heavy (6.0 oz), and xx-heavy (6.5 oz). The strength of the elastic gradually increases
DIAMETER The diameter refers to the width or how wide the elastics are. The diameter varies according to the distance the elastic needs to be stretched to connect to the brackets. It’s expressed in fractions of an inch from 1/8 inch, 3/16 inch, 1/4 inch, 5/16 inch, and 3/8 inch with 1/8 having the smallest diameter and 3/8 the widest.
NAME Names help patients identify what elastic they are using and if they are using the right one for their treatment. It’s very important for proper labeling as the improper usage of elastics can do more damage than what it’s trying to correct. Most orthodontic companies have their own names for the elastics they provide.
Orthodontic Elastics Material
The elastics are either made of latex or non-latex. Latex elastics are the more commonly used ones but since there are people allergic to it, non-latex elastics also exist for their convenience. Orthodontic elastics that are made of natural latex have a yellowish color while latex free ones are clear. But, depending on the taste of the patient, there are also neon colored elastics and ones that even glow in the dark.
From the variety of elastics people can choose from, wearing these interach rubber bands can be made more enjoyable instead of seeing it as a chore. Although, wearing these elastics come with user responsibility.
Everyday Life With Orthodontic Elastics
People with these elastics have to accept that maintaining it is now part of their everyday since they’re supposed to be worn at all times except during meals.This is the part some people find tedious or annoying- the elastic routine. At first, it can even be difficult to put them on the right way, but with time this part of the process gets easier. What can be bothersome is putting them on after meals, and taking them off before meals.
At the start, the elastics can cause the patient to feel sore from the usage. This pain is normal and can be alleviated through some methods like gargling water mixed with salt or simply through getting used to it. It’s best to get used to wearing the elastics instead of forgetting to put them on or choosing not to.
Doing this will just make the aligning process longer than needed. But what’s worse than not using the elastics, is putting them on the wrong way. Improper placement of orthodontic elastics can screw up the whole process, possibly make it worse, and may result to the need to start again from scratch or so.
To avoid such worst case scenarios, taking care of them is essential, so it’s best to learn the things to do for elastic maintenance and usage.
Proper Elastic Maintenance
For the best results fast, having the patient’s full cooperation in elastic maintenance helps a lot. Proper treatment of elastic usage includes replacing broken elastics at once with the same kind so that it still remains as the same treatment. Other than that, when elastics run out, don’t just opt for the available ones if it’s not the one for the treatment. Elastic specification is important in the whole process and contributes a great deal to the final output.
Lastly, aside from always remembering to wear the elastics, proper hygiene should be followed. Washing your hands before and after putting them on is a clean habit plus also brushing your teeth after meals so no remnants of food get stuck with the band.