elastics for dental braces

July 16, 2015

You & Your Fantastic Elastics

If you’re like most people, nothing about stringing your mouth up with rubber bands should feel natural. Moreover, while it is easy to understand the work that the metallic brackets and wires of your braces are doing, it is a bit less obvious what the elastics that you’re given are meant to accomplish alongside them. Until now, that is…


Elastics are the tiny rubber bands that are attached to your braces to assist with coordinating the upper and lower arches. They are designed to exert force that creates the right amount of pressure to move teeth in the directions that braces cannot achieve alone. Consequently, if you neglect to wear your elastics as directed your treatment time will be extended, which means you’ll be wearing braces longer than you expected.


Unless you are told otherwise, you should wear your elastics 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. You can remove them when eating and when brushing or flossing your teeth. However, they must be replaced immediately afterward because, as mentioned, elastics only work when they’re worn as directed.


Dr. Peralta will provide you with many elastics because they are designed to be replaced at least three times a day. This is because elastics stretch out with use and lose their strength. You should always carry extra elastics with you in case they break or get lost.


To ensure that your treatment moves along as expected, be sure to:


  • Always wear your elastics as directed.
  • Remove your elastics only when eating and cleaning your teeth; then replace them immediately after.
  • Always carry extra elastics with you, so if one breaks or gets lost you can replace it right away.
  • Be sure to change your elastics as instructed, as these small rubber bands quickly lose their elasticity, causing them to no longer exert the right amount of pressure required for moving teeth.

Orthodontics is a two-way street (so to speak), which means it takes effort from both your orthodontist and you to make treatment successful. Wearing elastics as directed is one of your responsibilities, and if you adhere to it your time with braces will proceed much more smoothly and result in a healthier occlusion.


If you have any questions about wearing your elastics, contact Orthodontics of Burien at our Seattle office. We are always happy to speak with you!