Why braces need elastics

by Dr. Amer Hussain, on Sep 21, 2019 2:47:00 PM

Do I really need to wear my elastics?

To answer bluntly, yes. Yes you do. Elastics are an important part of having braces, even though they often get left in their bag instead of in your mouth. Braces are made of a lot of moving parts (literally) and most of us, we don’t understand the importance of every part. Whether it’s your bracket, archwire, ligature or elastics, all these parts are essential in aligning your smile and correcting your bite. 

But many patients try to get out of wearing their elastics for various reasons; either the elastics cause too much pain or they limit the movement of their mouth or even they just don’t like the lisp they get. 

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Elastics are essential when it comes to adjusting your bite and jaw position. They are usually connected with hooks that will connect your upper jaw to your lower. It’s this connection between the two that ensure your teeth will line up properly.

Braces will straighten your teeth but it’s the elastics job to correct and align the bite; henceforth, why they are so important.  By wearing your elastics you will have the best possible result in the shortest amount of time. 

We know, elastics are annoying. You have to take them out every time you eat or brush but they are so necessary for your treatment.

By not wearing your elastics you can actually make your treatment time longer. But on the flip side, if you think doubling up on your elastics will make your teeth move and shift fast, you’re wrong.

If you double up on your elastics, you can damage your teeth. The added pressure created by the elastics can slow down the tooth’s movement and damage the roots. 

Elastics come in different strengths, everything from light to extra heavy. These strengths are decided by your orthodontist according to your treatment plan, if you double up on elastics you may cause damage to your tooth which will prolong your treatment. 

Depending on the instructions from your orthodontist, you generally should be wearing your elastics for upwards of 22 hours. Elastics should be swapped out for new ones every time you eat or brush your teeth.

It’s important to follow all your orthodontist instructions when it comes to improving your smile, small things like skimping on wearing your elastics can have a prolonged impact on your treatment time. 

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Since you now understand the utmost importance of we have tip list of Do’s and Don’ts for you! 

DO: Be start the habit of carrying extra elastics on you
This will he a good habit to get into as you’ll always be ready in case of breakage or replacement. 

DO: Always wash your hands before removing or replacing your elastics 
This kind of goes without saying but it’s always best to wash your hands before putting them in your mouth.

DO: Wear your elastics as often as possible
The more you wear your elastics, the better it is for your teeth. By wearing your elastics properly it will help shift your teeth (sometimes even faster!). 

DON’T: Double up on elastics
As previously said, this will not move your teeth faster. In fact it can slow down the tooth’s movement and even damage your roots.

DON’T: Overstretch the elastic
When you overstretch the elastic, you can accidentally cause it to lose its strength; therefore rendering it ineffective. Follow all your orthodontist's instructions for putting your elastics.

DON’T: Forget to re-up on elastics
Since you’ll be changing your elastics OFTEN (or at least you should be), it’s important to make sure you don’t run out. We’ve already told you enough times how important elastics are so we won’t be a broken record. 

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