Why Do Braces Need Elastic Bands?

We often hear questions from our patients about what all the little parts on braces do. They are such intricate pieces of equipment, you may wonder how all the pieces come together to eventually move teeth and get you a beautiful smile. But even after we explain how the archwire, brackets, bands, and ties work together to move teeth, there is still one question remaining: what about the elastic bands that run between the upper and lower jaws?

Purpose Built Pieces

First, let us start with a recap of how the parts of braces work. The braces are attached to the dental arch with metal bands, specially designed to fit around the rear molars and then bonded to the teeth with dental cement. The brackets, which are the metal squares that are cemented to individual teeth, help braces act more finely on specific teeth, so we can move one tooth one direction and another tooth the other direction. The archwire, the springy metal wire that runs through the brackets on the top and bottom teeth, does most of the heavy lifting of moving teeth, and it is strapped to the brackets with colored elastic bands.

But what about the rubber bands that run between the jaws? These are attached to small hooks on the brackets, and they perform a very special function. While the rest of your braces are dedicated to moving teeth, rubber bands are there to actually change your jaw alignment. They work to reconfigure jaws, helping treat conditions like overbite, underbite, and crossbite. Working together in tandem, each part of your braces fulfills a particular role in helping you achieve a beautiful, healthy smile!

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