The braces rubbers
Braces rubbers or elastics are rubber bands that are made of latex and move teeth by tensioning them on the fixed braces. By tensioning the elastics on the wings of the brackets from upper jaw to lower jaw or within a jaw, forces are generated to move groups of teeth against each other.
The rubbers are available in different thicknesses - depending on how fast or how much the teeth are to be moved. The success of the therapy depends crucially on the cooperation of the patient.
Generally you have to choose between so-called Alastics and Elastics distinguish. Both are braces rubbers, which could lead to mix-ups. Therefore, here is a brief overview of the two types of brace rubbers:
This article is mainly about elastics. They are used to move teeth or, for example, to fix the position of the lower jaw. When the mouth is opened, they become tense and clearly visible. The patient can hang and unhook these rubbers independently and they are not colored, but slightly beige / whitish.
Alastics, however, serve to fix the wire in the brackets and are not necessary for every brace, as they differ in their design and the function of the Alastics can also be replaced by other mechanisms. Alastics are available in different colors and sit right around the brackets. They are only exchanged by the orthodontist.
Indication for braces rubbers
Brace rubbers are used in orthodontics to protect teeth or groups of teeth one or both jaws to move towards or away from each other.
The shift in a jaw differs intramaxillary or intramandibular is called, from the displacement of both jaws that intermaxillary called.
Almost every orthodontic treatment requires braces to move the teeth into their correct position or to tilt them in a certain axis.
Indications for elastics can be a head bite, in which the displacement results in an anterior tooth step. Another indication for a treatment with braces is a crossbite either in the posterior or anterior region, in order to move the teeth piece by piece towards one another.
You might also be interested in that: Jaw misalignment
How do you use it?
To attach elastics, there are small hooks or devices directly on the teeth, on which the rubber can be held, and possibly so-called Placer, which serve as suspension aids and are intended to simplify clamping. The orthodontist shows the patient how to hang the rubbers. Above all, it is important to note from which tooth to which tooth the rubber should be stretched. In order not to forget this, you can have the desired position recorded or take a photo.
The orthodontist stretches the first dental brace, explains the procedure and helps the user to stretch it. He quickly develops a routine with the placers and gets used to inserting the rubbers, as he has to change the rubber rings every day.
You can also do without the placer and, with a little skill, simply hang in the rubbers with your fingertips. However, this requires a little practice.
Furthermore, the elastics are loosened for food intake and for dental care and cleaning and then put back in again. After a certain period of use, it may well be the case that the strength of the elastic is changed, but the patient quickly gets used to the new circumstances.
Read about it too: How to clean braces
How long should you wear braces a day?
Braces rubbers should be worn all day in order to achieve optimal therapy success. The elastics are only unhooked for eating and cleaning the fixed equipment.
The elasticity of the braces is changed on a daily basis (unless otherwise instructed by the orthodontist), because after just one day of wear, the rubber already gives way and no longer has the appropriate elasticity and strength to continue to be used. Ideally, the elastics are worn day and night and changed in the morning.
Where can you buy braces rubbers?
As a rule, you can get enough braces from the orthodontist, which you should use diligently. It is important to ensure that you always have enough rubber bands until the next check-up appointment so that you don't have to go to the orthodontist again because of that.
What colors are there?
In contrast to the Alastics, which are available in all imaginable colors, Elastics, which are stretched between the teeth, have a light beige, rubbery color.
What are their strengths?
Braces rubbers or elastics are available in different strengths, depending on the area of application for which they are used and how quickly they should cause a shift. The strengths are marked with images to make the distinction playful and easier for young users. The different strengths of elastics are characterized by fruits, animals (e.g. rabbits, moose, impala ...) or sports.
What can you do about the pain?
The elastics constantly exert force and tension on the teeth, which are already fitted with fixed braces, and put a double strain on them. Wearing it during the day can cause pain and tension in the muscles as a result. The users complain of stiff muscles, which are similar to aching muscles, or of immobility of the lower jaw if they loosen the braces.
In order to counteract the pain, the user should specifically open his mouth with exercises to loosen any stiffening that may arise. If the rubbers are removed, ten to twenty repetitions are sufficient, in which the mouth is opened to the maximum. This keeps the chewing muscles active and supple. The user can also make circular movements with his hands in order to loosen up the muscles. A massage of five to ten minutes is enough to relax the masticatory muscles. In this way, knots can also be massaged out.
If these exercises do not help, the patient must visit the treating orthodontist so that he can treat the pain and, if necessary, change the therapy with the elastics or use other strengths of the elastics.
Learn more at: Braces pain - what to do?
What can you do if braces are stuck between your teeth?
The jamming of braces between the teeth is an occasional phenomenon,
The user can independently try to get under the wedged rubber with reinforced dental floss and to loosen it. A steady hand is necessary for this. You can also try to use interdental brushes to get under the braces and push it out of the interdental space.
The elastic placer can also be used to loosen the rubber ring from the gap. If the rubber should be too wedged, the treating orthodontist or dentist should be visited so that he can remove the rubber gently.
In no way should you try to remove the rubber with sharp objects such as a toothpick, as this increases the risk of injury or the rubber is supposedly pushed deeper into the interdental space when attempting to remove it. If the braces are left like this, the gums can become inflamed and cause uncomfortable pain. Therefore, the rubber should be removed as soon as possible.
What does it mean when the gums change color?
The discoloration of the rubbers is not a concern, it is a normal symptom of use. The rubbers wear out after a certain time and the color usually becomes pale. Daily consumption of food can also discolor the gums.
If a color change can be observed, the elasticity is no longer optimal and the braces rubbers should be changed. The elastics should be changed every day because they give way very quickly and the elasticity is no longer given.