Louise, a reader from Pennsylvania recently wrote in to ask why you need to have rubber bands on each individual tooth with a bracket on it. Here’s what she asked:
Why do some people have rubber bands around each individual piece of metal on each tooth when they have braces? I thought that rubber bands were used to try to pull two or more teeth together, so it doesn’t really make sense to me that a rubber band would just be on one tooth since it can’t really provide any force that way to move teeth.
Louise’s question is a very good one!
First, let’s have a close look at just one of those brackets with the rubber band around it:
The reason the young woman in this picture needs those rubber bands around each bracket is to hold the wire inside the bracket. There are a couple main types of brackets used for braces: Those that snap shut to hold the wire in, and those that need a rubber band to hold the wire in. Some types of braces that require a rubber band to secure them to the wire use just one long rubber band that goes in figure-8’s around all of the teeth in an arch.
Either way, it is very important to hold the wire inside the bracket since the wire is what controls the movement of the teeth in most orthodontic cases. Without it the wire would not be secured. So, you see, the answer to Louise’s question is pretty straightforward.
Do you have any questions about braces or any other dental topic? Just use the ask a question form and send it to me. I will either respond via email or feature your question on Oral Answers!
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