Separators and Rubber Bands
When patients have their wires and brackets placed, they should understand that the process of placing the braces has not been finished yet because the separators and rubber bands still need to be placed. The reason why these devices are not placed at the first visit is that they need time to work. These are the last pieces of the puzzle and will allow the orthodontist to place the proper bands on the backs of the molars before finalizing the rubber band placement around the wires.
Separators and Rubber Bands: What are Separators?
The first part of this visit is the placement of the separators. Separators are small pieces of elastic shaped like bands that are going be stretched out with a special instrument. They will be flossed between teeth where space is needed, such as the back molars. It is possible that patients could feel a small pressure or a pushing sensation at the back of their teeth. This pressure will allow the rubber band to squeeze between the teeth where space is being formed. This will create room for the braces on the back teeth.
The Discomfort Could Take a Couple of Days to Fade
After the separators have been placed, it is normal for patients to feel some mild discomfort. Over the next few hours, the soreness will start to crescendo and could persist for a day or two. It could be helpful to use an over the counter pain reliever to dull the pain and make it easier for the patient to eat. For patients who are concerned, they can always ask their orthodontist to recommend an over the counter pain reliever that can take away the discomfort partially.
Rubber Bands are Last
Once the separators have done their job, the orthodontist will place the last few bands around the back molars and finish the process of setting up the braces. This involves placing the elastics. The elastics are used to ensure that the teeth are fitting together properly. They can be used to close the spaces between teeth, pull the teeth in the proper direction, and help fix any issues with cross-bites. They are attached using hooks and are often placed by the patient. The orthodontist will ask the patient to demonstrate this placement before the visit is finished.
Important Considerations Regarding Rubber Bands
When patients are placing the rubber bands, they need to think about a variety of issues. First, some patients may be allergic to latex, a common material in rubber bands. Patients who are allergic to latex must make this very clear. In addition, patients will also get to select the color of their rubber bands. Patients may elect to go with the color of their favorite sports team or something similar. Anyone with questions about separators and rubber bands should contact an orthodontist today to schedule an appointment and have their concerns addressed.