You have probably seen orthodontic bands and spacers before, even if you don’t know what they are. From the name, you can tell that they are used to fix your teeth, but let’s get in-depth so that you can find out more about these orthodontic devices.
Orthodontic spacers are actually called separators, and are rubber bands or metal appliances that orthodontists place between your teeth in order to move them slightly apart. The names ‘separators’ and ‘spacers’ are interchangeable.
Commonly placed between the molars, spacers can either come in the form of circular rubber bands or small metal spring clips called spring separators. The rubber bands can be placed between the top and bottom molars while the spring separators are used to push molars apart.
Spacers move teeth apart to create enough space for orthodontists to fit in molar bands. After one to two weeks, orthodontic bands or braces are put in during the next appointment after the spacers have been removed.
Due to their material and purpose, patients have reported that spacers can range from anywhere between a mild annoyance to a very painful experience. In fact, spacers can also cause toothache and gum pain due to the constant pressure they exert on your teeth.
Certain dentists recommend not flossing while you have spacers in, which might be the only time your dentist might tell you not to floss! This is to keep the separators from getting loose before your next appointment.
However, having spacers in is not an excuse to avoid brushing your teeth as they will not be displaced by brushing. Rather, we recommend brushing while spacers are in place to discourage plaque buildup.
Certain separators can also cause pain during chewing, and crispy or tough foods might be difficult to eat. In the meantime, avoiding sticky foods such as chewing gum is recommended.
Spacers might seem like a hassle to maintain, but they remain a necessary part of the process of getting braces as they create space for other orthodontic appliances.
Orthodontic bands are custom-fit stainless steel, plastic, or ceramic rings that completely encircle a tooth, usually molars, for constructing a set of braces. They are also known as molar bands, and orthodontists use them to anchor the archwire in braces.
Orthodontic bands are secured in place with a durable, non-toxic cement, and while they are not completely necessary, some orthodontists prefer them due to increased stability of attachment on a large tooth in an active part of the mouth.
How does it work?
Thanks to the space created by orthodontic separators, bands are selected to fit each individual tooth. Using a bite stick to relieve strain on the jaw while positioning the band, the orthodontist informs the patient when to bite and how hard.
Following that, the orthodontist selects bands which fit the molars and lines them with band cement before positioning it on the tooth and bonding it to keep the bands in place.
As you can see, orthodontic bands and spacers are used in the process of getting braces. They might seem intimidating at first, but we’ll be here to guide you through the process!