How Do Orthodontic Elastics Work When Wearing Braces?When you visit Dr. Foley and his orthodontics team in London Ontario to get braces on, you will likely be told that you need to wear orthodontic elastics as well. These are small rubber bands that your orthodontist will place in your mouth in different ways. Elastics are typically added into the treatment process after a patient has been wearing their braces for 4-6 months. While the rubber bands may seem unimportant, the reality is that they serve very critical functions. By learning more about the two main types of orthodontic elastics used with different orthodontic treatments, you will see why they are important.


Everyone who has traditional braces will have ligatures placed in their mouth. Initially, brackets will be glued to each of your teeth, and a wire will be run through each of the brackets. The ligatures are small rubber bands that your orthodontist will place on the brackets to hold the wire in place. The rubber bands essentially help to guide your teeth into the desired position over time. You can typically choose which color of rubber band you want, and this is one of the more fun aspects of wearing braces.

Interarch Rubber Bands

Some people who wear braces have an overbite, underbite, open bite, or crossbite and correcting this problem requires the use of rubber bands in a different way. Special brackets with hooks may be placed on a few of your upper and lower teeth. Interarch rubber bands are then placed in a manner that hooks the upper and lower teeth together. This can make it more difficult to open your mouth, but you should be able to speak clearly with the bands in place. You will need to remove them when eating and brushing your teeth. Your orthodontics team will show you how to replace these bands. You may need to replace them several times per day.

As you can see, orthodontic elastics are a vital part of the orthodontic treatment process when wearing braces. The reality is that your teeth would not be properly aligned without them. It is important that you follow all instructions your orthodontist gives you regarding the care of these bands and that you keep them in place as much as possible to ensure that you do not extend your treatment time. If you have any questions about how to care for your rubber bands, you can ask Dr. Foley or his helpful team.