Elastics (Rubber Bands)
The upper teeth can be aligned on their own, as can the lower teeth, but the elastics are what coordinate the two together so that you bite correctly. Proper use of elastics is crucial for a good outcome. The most common delay in treatment completion is the lack of wearing rubber bands. Wear them well and you’ll get your braces off much faster!
Rapid Palatal Expander (RPE)
The palatal expander widens the upper jaw by applying a gentle pressure on your back teeth. This is done by turning a small wheel on the expander with a key that will be given to you. It is very important to follow the orthodontists instructions with the expander to assure the proper results. Before you leave the office, he will work with you to make sure you are able to turn it properly. Please call our office if you have any concerns with your expander. The expander usually stays in place for at least 6 months after you are done turning the key.
Retainers are your insurance policy for all the hard work that has been done. They will help keep the teeth in their new position. There are a variety of retainer types, all of which fit into the categories of removable or permanent (bonded) retainers. Wearing your retainer as directed by your orthodontist is crucial to assure they stay where they are and don’t shift back. If your retainer is lost or broken you should contact our office immediately so your teeth don’t move.
Separators or Spacers
Separators are tiny rubber rings that are occasionally used between two teeth to create a small space in between them. They are typically only used for a week or two and are then removed. Occasionally they fall out before you come in again, and you should let our office know if they have come out more than 24 hours prior to your next appointment. Avoid sticky foods or flossing where they are placed to help avoid premature removal.