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Everything You Need to Know About Rubber Bands for Braces

Using rubber bands or elastics (same thing, different word) for your braces is probably one of the top hurdles people have. How can something so small create such a headache? Why do they need to be so difficult? Do the rubber bands on your braces actually work? How do the braces bands work? How long do you wear the rubber bands for your braces?

rubber bands for braces
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Stay tuned, because we’re going to answer all these questions and more.

Why Do You Need Rubber Bands for Braces?

When you get rubber bands for your braces, it can be for several reasons. Most of the time, it is to correct an underbite or an overbite. Less commonly, it is used to correct a cross-bite. We’re going to go over all of those in detail a little bit lower. This type of elastics used for braces is typical called interarch elastics.

Another type of rubber band is used commonly with braces, however, most people really don’t think much about them. These are called ligature bands and they are used to hold the post on the actual brace. When people think about colored rubber bands, this is what they most commonly think about.

Dentists who use the elastics for braces use them to help them work faster. The elastics put pressure on the jaw and help move both teeth and draw to more correct positioning. Most of the bands will need to be worn 24 hours a day, however, some bands are only used at night. Typically, when your braces are most active in correcting a problem, the bands are used 24 hours a day. Only when your teeth are in place and you’re getting ready to transition to a retainer will they reduce the time to just nights.

How long you need to wear the right braces rubber bands is up to your orthodontist. Typically, the bands are used the entire time you have braces, so this will be a several-year investment.

Parts of Your Braces

In order to fully explain the necessity of the braces with rubber bands, let’s first take a look at the various parts of a teeth brace.

  • The square metal things on your teeth are called brackets.

  • The brackets are connected through the archwire, which is the force necessary to direct and move your teeth.
braces parts names
  • You have tiny rubber bands wrapped around individual braces, and these are called ligatures. These elastic ligatures can be very colorful. But their purpose is more than just more decoration. Their main function is to hold the archwire in place. These ligatures stay in place until the next time you visit your orthodontist. You can have them in another color entirely when your orthodontist adjusts your braces or tightens the archwire.

  • Then you have another set of rubber bands called the interarch rubber bands. Their function is to adjust the position of your bite and jaw properly. You connect them to the brackets, usually by connecting a top tooth bracket with a bottom tooth bracket. This connection will help adjust the position of your jaw and the position of your teeth inside your mouth so that the teeth line up correctly.  

    These rubber bands need to be replaced daily, since they endure a lot of wear and tear. You have to remove them when you eat, and when you are cleaning your teeth and your brackets.

    Not everyone who wears braces need these interarch rubber bands. It all depends on how your jaw is currently aligned and what your orthodontist recommends regarding treatment and corrections.

Do All Braces Have Rubber Bands?

Typically, all traditional metal braces do have the rubber bands. These bands are the ligature bands to hold the post in place. Not all braces will have these, nor do many of them have the interarch elastics. For example, Damon Braces and Invisalign use different technology and do not require elastic ligatures. The interach bands are used mostly when an overbite, under-bites, or cross-bite are present. Sometimes an orthodontist will use the elastics when certain teeth need to be pushed or pulled into a proper position.

Braces with Rubber Bands: For What Purposes

The elastics on your braces are not very visible. Typically, the braces bands are found on the back of teeth. This is most commonly used for the overbite, underbite, and cross-bite. There are several types of rubber bands that are used for different purposes. In the end, the bands will help correct the most important part of your teeth in the mouth, your bite. When you have a proper bite, you have less job pain, reduced dental problems, and fewer neck problems and headaches.

Rubber Bands for Overbite

class ii elastics overbite

Type 2 rubber bands for braces are typically used for an overbite. Bands for an overbite start further forward in the mouth, near the canines, on the top of the mouth. They stretch back and down to the lower molars on the lower jaw. This helps pull the jaw forward so the top teeth do not protrude as far.

Rubber Bands for Underbite

class iii elastics underbite

These type 3 rubber band for braces are the exact opposite for an overbite and may be called class 3 elastics. Bands for an underbite will start forward on the lower jaw, close to the front teeth and stretch up and back to the upper molars. This helps pull the jaw back so the chin does not stick out as far.

Crossbite Rubber Bands 

A cross-bite is not one of the more common types of dental problems, and the rubber bands are one of the best fixes for the problem. Depending on the origin of the problem, your dentist will choose different teeth in order to attach the elastics. This may be perhaps the most uncommon type of usage because the elastic will stretch across your mouth and may interfere with your tongue.

Ligature Bands 

elastic ligatures for braces

These are a type of elastic that your dentist puts on to hold the posts in place on the brace. Typically, you do not deal with these bands unless they break. Your dentist will put them on and take them off for you.

Triangle Rubber Bands 

triangle rubber bands for braces

When your orthodontist needs to keep your teeth in precise place, they will use a triangular formation with your rubber bands. Generally, it does not allow your mouth to open very much and hold your jaw firmly in place. They are used around specific braces for specific teeth. Since this is a more unusual formation, be sure to talk to an orthodontist about it’s a necessity and exactly how to use them on your braces.

Chain Rubber Bands 

chain elastics braces

Sometimes a group of teeth need to be pulled together and for this, your dentist will use your rubber bands in a chain formation. Typically, they are used on either the top teeth or the bottom teeth and rarely will cross over. There are many ways to chain the elastics depending on what teeth need to be moved. Sometimes it’s just two teeth that are next to each other, while other times it can be multiple teeth in a line. And still, other times you could skip a tooth in between. Be sure to work with an orthodontist to know exactly what the purpose of chaining your bands and precisely how to do it.

How to Put Rubber Bands on Braces

Your orthodontist will tell you where to put rubber bands on braces. Every person has a unique bite and that will determine which teeth the bands are attached to. Before you leave your dentist office the first time, be sure they teach you how to wear your braces bands and how to take off the braces bands.

Be sure to be very clear on what teeth the bands are attached to. Most orthodontists will give you a chart to show you which teeth to attach your bands to. You will be putting on your bands at least twice a day, and maybe as many times as six times per day.

Some people are dexterous enough that they are able to put the rubber bands on with their fingers, however, for the rest of us, we use a rubber band hook for braces *. This rubber band tool allows us to get into tight places in our mouth and accurately place the elastic on the correct brace. The braces and rubber band positions are very precise and accurate placement is a must.

Rubber Bands in Colors

The elastic comes in all the colors of the rainbow. You can get silver braces band, glow-in-the-dark braces band, holiday themes elastics, and polka dots if you truly want. This may be the only fun thing about braces. And did you know you can get flavored rubber bands for your braces?

In truth, the color combination for braces rubber bands is endless. You need to talk to your dentist to see which ones will work best for you, just to be sure you do get the correct ones.

The best color rubber bands that look great on your braces are really up to you. Are you a fan of purple, or polka dots? Depending on where you live the most popular braces color can be red, blue, or silver. Typically, people in the Northeast United States prefer red. In the western United States, they prefer pastels. India prefers rainbow colors. And various countries in Europe are changing so continuously we can’t even keep up with who prefers what.

braces colors superheroes

We love seeing all different types of combinations. Did you put colored bands on clear braces? How about using clear bands with your metal braces? We want you to share your braces rubber band color combinations in the comments below. Help us share just exactly what fun groups you have.

Common Questions

What is the smallest size rubber band for braces?

There are various sizes for the rubber bands. The smallest elastics are the ones that fit around the actual brace, the ligature elastic. They are not meant to change the way your jaw closes. However, these are the ones that come in the most colors and you can have the most fun combining.

How to relieve pain from rubber bands on braces?

Some pain is unavoidable when you have braces. However, the rubber bands on your braces should not hurt so much. If you need to relieve the pain from your rubber bands or your braces, it should require nothing more than a little ice or a mild pain reliever. If you require more remedies than just this, it is a sign that your braces are not fitted properly and you need to visit your orthodontist again. They will be able to help you get rid of the pain from your rubber bands or your braces.

braces pain remedies infographic

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Can you eat and drink with rubber bands on your braces?

Most of the time, you are supposed to use your rubber bands while eating. You should be able to eat with your braces rubber bands on without any issue. They should not block your mouth or your throat. If you have issues with eating, talk to your orthodontist and they may recommend taking the bands off while you eat.

While you are eating, you are using your jaw muscles and opening and closing your mouth rapidly. Your bands will cause the fastest changes during your eating times. Because of the motion and the resistance, you will build muscle and change the way your jaw sets faster.

Sometimes, while you are eating, a food particle might break one of your bands and the rubber band could become stuck in the back of your throat. This is a highly uncomfortable feeling. Generally, you will end up swallowing the band if it’s stuck in your throat and you cannot cough it up. This is not a problem, as the elastic will pass through your digestive system without a problem.

Use caution if the rubber band is inhaled. Any time an object lodges into your windpipe, this is a medical emergency.

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Do you sleep in braces rubber bands?

In nearly every case, you will sleep with your rubber bands in your mouth. Even in cases where you take the rubber bands out occasionally, your orthodontist will recommend you leave the bands in overnight. They should not affect your sleep in any way and some of the best time for adjustment occurs overnight. If you find that you are grinding your teeth because of the elastics, discuss this with your orthodontist as this could set you back years in your treatment.

Can you reuse braces rubber bands?

In some cases you can reuse your bands, however, dentists recommend that once you take out elastic, you do not use it again. These elastics are not meant for repeated use and should be replaced often. If you are worried about going through your bands quickly, talk to your orthodontist. They should replace your bands free of charge so you can change them as often as you need to.

Can you double up on braces rubber bands?

After removing the bands when you’re not supposed to, doubling up on the elastics is one of the worst mistakes you can make. Each band is calibrated to a specific strength and your orthodontist is using that specific strength for a specific reason. By doubling up on the bands, you are changing the calculations and could cause irreparable damage.

Problems (and the Fixes) for Band Problems

There are a lot of elastic problems when it comes to braces. Fortunately, many of them have easy fixes.

They Hurt!

Braces can be painful and the braces rubber bands can hurt just as much. That’s because you’re pulling on teeth and teeth really shouldn’t be pulled upon. All dentists and orthodontists will remind you that some pain is to be expected. It should not be anything more than a simple, mild pain reliever will remedy. You should not be experiencing any cuts, burns, abrasions, or blistering. The pain should not be excruciating. You should be able to sleep just fine.

If you experience pain that is more than just mild, this is a reason to call your dentist orthodontist immediately. It could be a signal of damage that is being done or that your braces are not aligned properly.

Your dentist or orthodontist will tell you if it’s appropriate to remove the elastics to help relieve the pain. Generally, braces rubber bands do not cause pain and you don’t need pain relief specifically for that. For the most part, your orthodontist will not tell you to remove the elastics. We do not recommend you remove the elastics on your own, even if it does make it feel better. It could set you back days or even weeks in your treatment.

It Broke!

The bands are small and flexible, and they are meant to only be worn for a short period of time. To that effect, they are not made to be durable. Many people will experience a broken band at least once during their treatments. It’s okay. If it broke, just replace it. Most dentists in orthodontist will recommend that you keep spare bands with you at all times just for this kind of scenario.

If you are continuously breaking the same band, this is a sign that your braces are not aligned or you are not using the correct size band. This is a reason to call your orthodontist and have them check to make sure the bands are correct.

It Fell Off!

What to do when your rubber band falls off is rather simple, just replace it. Just like when it breaks, the band might be defective or stretched out too much. Simply replace it. Again, if it falls off often, it’s a sign that it is an incorrect size or there’s something going on. Contact your orthodontist just to make sure everything is still in the right place.

How to Clean Braces Bands

Well, since we replace the bands so often, you really don’t need to clean your  bands and this is the same thing for how to whitening your braces bands, don’t.

But, if you’re talking about the ligature elastics, this can be a whole different scenario. Clear and white braces bands tend to stain a lot faster. Because there’s very little color or no color, they tend to pick up strongly tinted liquids and foods very fast. It is very difficult to remove stains from braces bands. But we can keep the braces bands from staining.

You should avoid any foods that have chemical colors. This involves any processed food or baked goods that contain colors as part of the ingredients. The dyes that are used to create the colors are very strong and tend to be plastic-based. They are absorbed into other plastics, such as latex, and stick to them. They tend to stain braces bands very quickly.

Also, avoid any drinks that are dark colored. This includes soda, tea, and coffee. Not only do these drinks stain your teeth, they very quickly stain your bands.

Once your bands are stained, it’s very difficult to get out the stain. It is most noticeable in clear braces where the dark stain is more prominent. If you have silver or other colored braces, you can get away with some staining.

food that stains braces infographic

However, since most of the foods and drinks that tend to stain your bands are unhealthy, we recommend you stay away from that food and drinks altogether. You will be healthier and you don’t have to worry about stains.

There are dozens of remedies online for cleaning braces bands and your braces, but we want to remind you that most dental associations have rejected these at home fixes. Many of them will break down the bands and could even damage the braces. We recommend you talk to your dentist or orthodontist in order to discover what products or cleaning techniques they recommend.

Two of the most common remedies, baking soda, and peroxide, are very damaging to braces and bands. While it looks good on paper, we do not recommend using these at all.

Where to Buy Braces Rubber Bands

First of all, be very sure and specific on the type of rubber band your orthodontist has prescribed for you. Getting one even the slightest bit off will disrupt the progress you have already made, and you could have your braces for years more than you need to.

There are only a few reasons to buy rubber bands for your braces since most dentists will provide you as many elastics as you require for free. One of the biggest reasons people buy rubber bands for braces is that they make phenomenal hair ties and are great for crafting. Other reasons are flavored bands, specialty colors and tints, and novelty elastics.


All in all, what you need to understand is that rubber bands for your braces are important, so you need to wear them as often as your orthodontist tells you to. You can have some fun with them, but you can’t fool around. You need to make sure that you are wearing them correctly so that you don’t unnecessarily prolong the time you need to wear braces.

In the end, while rubber bands and braces may look good, nothing beats your appearance when you can take off your braces permanently and you can display a set of perfect teeth once and for all.

If you liked our article, please share it and use the comment section below to tell us about your experiences or ask any questions. Thanks!

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  • lee says:

    i dont have ring on back of my teeth.does it have problem?

    • Daniel says:

      Hello, Lee!

      Perhaps you can help us out a bit. We need to know what you mean by “ring”. If it is a piece of your braces that is missing, you need to get to your dentist and have it fixed. Please explain us a little bit more. Thank you!

  • Ryan says:

    I have an overbite, what class of elastic should I wear, the orthadontist didn’t say, he just said to put them in at night

    • Susan says:

      Hey, Ryan! Thanks for stopping by!

      For the specifics of what bands to use, you’ll need to talk to the orthodontist who recommended them for you. There are several strengths of bands and using the wrong one could cause many more problems than they solve.

      You did very well with consulting an orthodontist prior to treatment. This way, you know what to do and how to do it safely and correctly.

  • Aileen Nunez says:

    There’s 2 weeks till my next appt. and I was wondering if I will get my braces off with rubber bands.My bottom teeth has about 1cm away from my bottom teeth.I usually wear my elastics and a few days that I forget to put on after every meal.Is there a possibility that I will get my braces off?

    • Susan says:

      Hey Aileen!

      I’m glad you asked.

      Usually, they will take the braces off with the rubber bands when it’s time to fully remove your braces.

      Since we don’t know how long you had your braces on, we can’t know if you will get your braces off. This is a question you need to ask your dentist. Usually, you should be able to call in and they would be able to answer the question over the phone before you.

  • Marissa says:

    Hi! So i’m currently wearing interarch bands to help my over bite and my orthodontist gave me two sets of bands to alternate between for sleep and day. Will the bigger sized bands show more of a difference over time or will the smaller ones show more?

    • Susan says:

      Hi Marissa!

      I’m glad you asked. This is really a question for your orthodontist.

      Generally, when an orthodontist has you changing things for the day and for the evening, it is because the stronger adjustments happen while you sleep. Now, with the different size bands, your orthodontist could have various reasons for using the two different sizes. One could be because he or she wants a specific change overnight. Another could be for your comfort.

      In addition, when you use a stronger band, the changes happen faster. They can also unto themselves quickly. Small changes over time typically stick longer. It could be that your orthodontist wants the best of both sides. So, you really need to ask him or her exactly what they want to achieve when you wear the different bands.

  • Tiara says:

    Hello! My two top front teeth are crooked ; one is a bite lower and facing the wrong way. I’m a teenager, is there any way I can fix this and fast?

    • Susan says:

      Hi Tiara!

      I’m glad you asked.

      We’re sorry to hear that your teeth are crooked. And we know that as a teenager you want this fixed fast.

      We cautioned against home fixes, however. They can cause more problems in the long run. We really do recommend you see a dentist so you know what your options are.

      Today, for smaller problems,you don’t need braces at all. A retainer can work well. As a teenager, you have more options than adults. Since your mouth is still growing, many techniques will work. You just need to see a dentist to know what your options are.

  • cindy says:

    Hi!i have a friend who installed a braces because his teeth has overlapped at the lower anterior and the lateral and he has periodontitis,and the affected of the perio is the anterior ,does the ortho give a good result?or what is the possible problem he might have??

    • Susan says:

      Hey Cindy!

      Interesting question.

      Did your friend install the braces himself or did the dentist do it? There a lot of factors that go into this.

      Periodontitis has many causes and can affect the teeth in many ways.This is definitely one thing you want to make sure an orthodontist looks into, because as the inflammation progresses, the teeth could become weak and even fall out.

      We’re not quite sure what is going on with your friend, so you do want to get a professional to have a hands-on approach working with your friend.

  • Britt says:

    I have 4 sets of interarch bands on either side of my mouth that overlap each other/ share the same bracket hook. I’m having trouble being able to put on all 4 bands. It seems like the hooks aren’t long enough for the bands to overlap. Is there anything I can do?

    • Susan says:

      Hi Britt!

      That’s a tough question.

      If you’re not able to get the bands on, it may be the hooks are truly not long enough or the bands might be too small.

      This is an issue your dentist will have to remedy.

      Your dentist will also be able to watch you use the bands and recommend any adjustments in your technique that will help you get the bands on.

  • Natalie says:

    Hi! I have two different sets of rubber bands on each side of my mouth. One is a triangle and one is a Class II elastic. After wearing them for a while it made my teeth asymmetrical and it looks strange. So then I’ve kind of been changing the bands around by myself to see if it could make it more even but it hasn’t. Is there a reason for this or anything I can do to fix it? And why did my ortho say to make them different?

    • Susan says:

      Hey Natalie!

      We’re not quite sure why your orthodontist uses two different bands. We can only assume there was a reason.

      But, if your teeth are not lining up symmetrically, this is a problem. We recommend talking to your orthodontist about what’s happening and how to fix it.

      Changing the bands on your own could cause further problems. We recommend that you stop doing that.

      It may be possible that on one side of your mouth your teeth have reached their final destination before the other side. If this is the case, changing things on your own could set you back months or even years, which would make wearing your braces all the longer.

  • Brandon says:

    Is it safe to double up on my rubberbands?

    • Susan says:

      Hey Brandon!

      We don’t recommend doubling up on your bands without the direct instruction of your dentist.

      Too much pressure and you could literally rip your teeth from your gums.

  • dottie says:

    i been had braces on my teeth for over 2 year cause i had a crooked tooth at the top ( it was really crooked push way back ) is it normal that teeth still sore especially when i go to get my band tighten like i said it’s been 2 year and when my teeth shift it get sore

    • Susan says:

      Hey Dottie!

      It is perfectly normal to have irritation and soreness whenever you get your band’s tightened, even after years of having braces.

      You’re still moving your teeth and still creating a strain on your gums.

      Anytime your teeth shift or move it can cause pain.

      It would be a good thing to talk this over with your orthodontist to make sure there’s nothing going on that may cause damage.

  • Caitlin Mitchell says:

    The last orthadontist appt I went to they said my next appoitnment would be to take off my braces for sure. They gave me rubber bands to wear until then, but they caused a slight gap in my teeth. I’m wondering if I should even continue to wear them because my bite is ok, it’s just extra help. Also I’m wondering if they’ll still take them off or if they’ll even notice this gap, it is so slight.

    • Susan says:

      Hey Caitlin,

      We recommend following the advice of your orthodontist.

      If you discovered the rubber bands are causing a gap, you should contact them immediately in order to stop any further damage.

      We do not recommend you stop wearing the bands, retainer, or any braces without your orthodontist recommendation.

      Fortunately, the small gap you notice may close on its own once your braces are removed.

      It is likely your orthodontist will still take off the braces on schedule and even more likely that they’ll notice the gap the bands created.

  • Jamillet says:

    So my orthodontist had me start wearing rubber bands today. I think they’re called vertical elastics? (Canine tooth to canine) my question is would I have to wear these until I get my braces removed or would there be a chance they’d have never stop wearing them for the last few months?

    • Jamillet says:

      Have me stop **

    • Susan says:

      Hi Jamillet,

      Those can be tough rubber bands to get used to. It can go either way.

      Your orthodontist maybe using the rubber bands for a temporary fix or they might be for something longer-lasting. Your orthodontist will be able to tell you what their purpose is and how long you will wear them.

      Based on past history with braces, there is a good chance that your orthodontist will remove those types of rubber bands a few months to a year before your braces come off. Just remember to ask next time you are in about the reason you are wearing them and how long it will be.

  • Shi says:

    My dentist gave me clear elastic’s but didnt say anything about them or how often I should use them but he did tell me about the wax and if he did in fact mention something about them I wasn’t listening well. But he gave me them when I only had my top braces on, so is it ok for me not to use them?

    • Susan says:

      Hey Shi,

      This is a really tough question.

      You will have to talk to your dentist about exactly what the elastics are used for and how to use them.

      There are multiple different ways they could be used and the timing for them.

      We don’t want to give you bad advice and possibly disrupt all the good work you’ve had with the braces.

  • Skyla Green says:

    Can I insert my rubber bands without my orthodontist’s say so

    • Susan says:

      Hey Skyla!

      A lot of people want to change up their bands while they are away from their orthodontist. We do not recommend this.

      The orthodontist uses specific bands at specific places at specific times to achieve specific results. That’s an awful lot of specificity, don’t you think?

      If you do want to change up the rubber bands, we recommend talking to your orthodontist to find out when would be the best time and how to do it properly.

      You’ve already gone through all the hard work of getting the braces. You don’t want to disrupt that work just to play around with the rubber bands, right?

  • Thanks for explaining what the rubber bands are in braces. My kids need to find a dentist that does braces because their teeth are so crooked. I will have to show my kids this article because they didn’t believe me that the rubber bands help with the braces. It’s interesting how a simple rubber band help hold the archwire in place.

    • Daniel says:

      Hey, Sandra!

      Thanks for the compliment! The rubber bands are used in many different ways, it can really accelerate the changes. That way the braces don’t have to stay on so long. One of the best ways to find a good dentist or orthodontist is had your child ask his or her friends where they got their braces and how they like their orthodontist.

  • Kelly says:

    I was just wondering how long would my rubber bands last, because I asked my dentist about how long it would take me to get them off, they said that I have a year left, but they said that they look almost done. So I was just wondering how long would the rubber bands take for the average person?

    • Susan says:

      Hey Kelly!

      This is a difficult question to answer.

      Generally, a dentist will use braces and rubber bands from 2 to 5 years.

      If it looks to your dentist that your teeth have almost moved into place, we do not believe it will take much longer.

      It will depend on your specific situation and your age.

      Your dentist may recommend leaving your braces on longer the younger you are. That is because your teeth will move as you continue to age.

      Hang in there, the bands will come off.

  • Emily says:

    I was wondering if rubber bands can prevent a tooth from moving? I currently have a power chain on top and bottom for all the teeth and inter arch rubber bands from my back teeth to my top canines. I have kind of thick rubber bands and there seems to be some pressure pulling back only canines.

    • Susan says:

      Hey Emily!

      Your bands can do a lot of things, including preventing a tooth from moving.

      Be warned, however, since you already have some orthodontic work in your mouth adding another rubber band could cause many other problems.

      We recommend talking to your dentist or orthodontist about what you are feeling and what you are experiencing.

      That way they can recommend the appropriate course of action and make sure no damage is done to your teeth.

  • neneth says:

    why my son’s gum getting black and bleeding everytime he put an elastic rubber band.. is that normal? i stop him to put a elastic rubber band.

    • Susan says:

      Hey Neneth!

      Any time your flesh turns black and begins bleeding is an emergency.

      If you have not already done so, take your child to the doctor.

  • selena says:

    I have not wore my rubber bands in 3 months

    • Daniel says:

      Hey, Selena!

      If you require rubber bands to help adjust to your teeth, then we recommend talking to your dentist or orthodontist about these issues and the problems you may be experiencing wearing them again after 3 month. We do not recommend adjusting them on your own. I hope I understand you right.

      Thank you.

  • Aastha says:

    My orthodontist doubled up a single rubber band … And when ever I wear it my band (put on canines) comes off… And I am not able to open my mouth… And if I tell him about this he asks me to stop wearing the rubber bands

    • Daniel says:

      Hey, Aastha!

      This is a fascinating problem. We don’t know why your orthodontist would have doubled up on the band or tell you not to wear them if they are too tight. If you are unhappy with your current orthodontist, we recommend seeking out another for a second opinion. Although we have to agree that if your bands are so tight you cannot open your mouth, this is a problem.

      Thank you!

  • Kimberly Vu says:

    I have triangle elastics and on each side I have a hook of wire the orthodontist made, and one just broke off. I’m not available to go visit a dentist soon, so my questions is, is it fine to wear the elastics in a line instead of a triangle, or will that mess up my teeth. Should I do that or just not use bands for the time being?

    • Daniel says:

      Hey, Kimberly!

      First we recommend to call your dentist and discuss this issue with them. Anyway, we do not recommend you adjust the bands or your braces on your own. It will not mess up your teeth immediately, but may cause the problems in the long run. And what if you won’t adjust the bands properly? I suppose you started with braces in order to get the perfect teeth. It’s not worth to risk and make your own adjustments. It’s better to comply with all the requirements.

      Thank you.

  • I says:

    I have to wear rubber bands to correct a slight under-bite. Am I supposed to relax my jaw while I have them on? When I do, my top and both teeth no longer aligns and I end up not being able to close my jaw naturally (not noticeable because my lips prevents that from showing). I can make my jaw align by using little bit more effort and both top and bottom on my jaw sits fine and am about to close my mouth/jaw. But I wonder if I’m defeating the purpose of the rubber bands if I was to use slightly more effort to close my jaw?

    • Daniel says:


      This is an interesting case. Ideally, you should be able to relax your muscles and allow the braces to adjust your jaw to where it is optimal for your teeth to come together. What you are feeling may be an actual problem, or it could be just the unusual position of your teeth. You don’t need to use an effort to make your jaw align, everything needs to work properly. We recommend asking your orthodontist about this issue. That way, you can both work together to make sure your braces are sitting properly, and your jaw is realigning correctly.

      Thank you!

  • joyce says:

    Is it okay to wear rubber band even though my dentist didnt say that i should?

    • Susan says:

      Hey, Joyce!

      We recommend following the advice of your orthodentist. If your orthodentist says that you should not wear rubber bands, we agree with him or her – you should not wear rubber bands. If he or she didn’t mention rubber bands, so that it’s not necessary in your case.

      Thank you!

  • Mina says:

    I know doubling up on elastics are bad…I’ve stopped but I’ve done it like five times now. Does this mean my teeth are screwed up forever?

    • Susan says:

      Hey, Mina!

      No, you are not screwed up forever. It is good that you stopped. Fortunately, five times should not be enough to alter your teeth significantly. We recommend talking to your dentist or orthodontist and telling them what you did, and that you realized your mistake. They will be able to evaluate the damage done if any. Even visit your your dentist or orthodontist and show them your teeth to make sure they’re ok. Fortunately, your teeth are part of living tissue and can be adjusted back in case it was some (if any) damage.

  • Jessy says:

    I have the over bite and one of the brackets broke. The last one at the bottom and it’s where I put my elastics what should I do?

    • Susan says:

      Hey, Jessy!

      That may be a problem. You will need to call your orthodontist or dentist to have your braces repaired. This is a fix that only your dentist or orthodontist can do. We do not recommend trying any at home fixes by yourself.

      Thank you!

  • Bethany says:

    Hi, I get my braces put on next week but have a little crack in one of my teeth will the crack get bigger as they put the brace on?

    • Susan says:

      Hey Bethany!

      This is a good question. Your orthodontist should already know about the crack and will have evaluated whether the crack will cause issues with the braces. If you have concerns, call your orthodontist before your appointment and express your concerns. They will be able to let you know what the plan of action is for getting your braces on and what will happen to the crack. Anyway, we do think you need to treat the crack before getting braces.

  • Star Medina says:

    So I’m getting my braces in 2 days . I wanted to ask what foods I can’t eat ? And also they said I have to wear rubber bands when do I have to start wearing them ?

    • Susan says:

      Hey Star!

      These are good questions. As for the rubber band, most bands will go on as soon as your braces go on and will stay that way throughout your treatment. Your orthodontist will be able to tell you exactly when and how to wear them. We also have a good article on this topic here. You also have to talk to them about what foods you can and cannot eat. Most cases, there are very few foods that you cannot eat. Foods that are tacky or gummy generally are discouraged as they may damage the braces. Foods that are overly hard like candies may be discouraged as well. Sometimes, harder foods will be difficult to chew until you get used to your braces. However, typically, there are few foods you cannot eat. Good luck with your braces!

  • Joe says:

    I have had braces now for 20 months. I have an overbite and 2mm gaps from the teeth they pulled on the top. The gaps are not closing. Though I have an overbite, they have me using rubber bands with the positions shown above for underbite. Is there a chance that my ortho has it wrong?

    • Susan says:

      Hey Joe!

      This is a tough situation. If you feel that there may be something wrong with your braces, we recommend getting a second opinion from a different orthodontist. Of course, there is always exist possibility for mistake. Generally, a second opinion will give you an honest and truthful evaluation whether something was right or wrong because they will be looking to you as a potential patient. If you were concerned about the gap, many times the dentist and orthodontist would be worried about the overbite before the gap. Gaps will sometimes close on their own during treatment, so it is not a priority. We recommend talking again to your primary orthodontist about the issues you have here, and if you do not like the answers, seek out a second opinion.

  • Johnny says:

    When going on a 7-day trip to Germany, I forgot my braces. How will this affect my treatment (time)?

    • Johnny says:

      I’m sorry. I meant rubber bands for the braces.

    • Susan says:

      Hey Johnny!

      This is a tough situation. Most likely this will affect your treatment time. You will have to talk to your dentist or orthodontist to see exactly what changes have occurred during your trip and what to do to restart your program. If you were close to the end of your treatment, the changes would be minor. The severity of your issues will also determine if any regression happened. Seeing your orthodontist as soon as possible will help undo the movement that may have occurred.

  • Danijsha says:

    Hey I’m Suppose To Be Getting My Braces Tuesday & I Just Want To Know That When You Get Your Braces Do You Have To Come Back 2 Weeks Later To Get The Rubber Bands? Or You can get the rubber bands the same day

    • Susan says:

      Hey Danijsha!

      This is a good question. In most cases, you will get the rubber bands the same day you get the braces. Sometimes, they do recommend waiting before applying the rubber bands. This is a question you can call your orthodontist with, and they will be able to explain the exact timeline for getting your braces, rubber bands, and when the treatment will end. We recommend following the directions to use the rubber bands correctly. Not using them or using the wrong strength band could cause pain and set back your treatment timeline.

  • oz says:

    Hey I’ve been using rubber bands for 2 months now. I take them out while I’m eating. My question is: If I change the rubber bands everytime i took them out, will it fasten the treatment? Because fresh pair of rubber bands feels like it’s tighter and putting much pressure. After 3-4 hours i don’t feel that much pressure which kinda annoys me. My orthodontist told me they are good for a day, so i can reuse them when i take them out to eat. I took them out 2 times a day to eat and I always wear them at night.

    • Susan says:

      Hey Oz!

      Good job on following your dentist recommendation. That indeed is the fastest way to get good, straight teeth. We recommend talking to your orthodontist about changing the rubber band every time you take them out. So far, we have not found any evidence that shows changing them multiple times away speeds up the healing process. It may be part of your treatment plan that the pressure does ease up after a few hours.

  • Attila says:

    I have a slight overbite and my orthodontist recommended using rubber bands with Invisalign braces. Should I be worried that rubber bands change the shape of my face?

    • Susan says:

      Hey Attila!

      This is a challenging question. Yes, using the rubber bands to change your overbite will change the shape of your face. However, except for those who are closest to you, they may not even notice. A slight overbite may adjust your jawline by millimeters. You will need to talk to your orthodontist to see just how far of an adjustment you will have and what the expected outcome is to be. However, even with people with severe overbites, the overall shape of the face is hardly distorted. Most of the time, it makes the lines more symmetrical.

      • Enica says:

        Hi, my name is Enica,
        My doctor tightened my braces and he told me not to wear rubber bands anymore and I had my braces for 2 years. What does this mean?

        • Susan says:

          Hey Enica!

          Thanks for asking this question. If your orthodontist recommends not wearing your bands anymore, that is part of the treatment. It means your teeth are moving the way they’re supposed to, and your orthodontist feels it’s time to move on to the next step. We recommend asking your orthodontist about the timeline for getting your braces off and what the following steps are. Then, you will be able to know exactly what’s going on and how much longer you can expect to wear your braces.

  • oz says:

    Hey, I have 2 more questions for you. I would really appreciate if you answer.

    1) I use rubber bands to correct an overbite. Will it have any negative effect on the upper side of the face like cheeks, cheekbones or lower side like jawline(or chin recession), philtrum, upper lip? (in terms of aesthetic) If yes, how so?

    2)I started the treatment after one of my teeth removed. My orthodontist used that space to move the teeth easily but now she says she will fill up that space(by moving teeth towards that direction I suppose) so I won’t need an implant in after treatment. Is that a wise move?

    • Susan says:

      Hey Oz!

      When you use the rubber bands to correct an overbite, the final result is moving the jaw slightly forward, so your bite comes together correctly. In most cases, your face will look like it’s in better proportion, which more people find attractive. As for filling the gap of the removed tooth, it is a standard procedure. Often, if there’s not enough space in the mouth, the orthodontist will remove a tooth and move others into the area. I think it’s a wise move because you won’t need an implant after that (you saved money) and your gap is small enough so that it may be closed by filling. If you still have questions about the procedure, we recommend talking to the orthodontist. Then, if you are still unsure or have doubts about the process we recommend getting a second opinion. Many orthodontists will provide the second opinion in hopes of obtaining you as a patient.

  • Katie says:

    Hi… I lost my package of class 2 elastic and so my grandad (an orthodontist) got me a pack of the correct strength but wrong size (5/16 in. Instead of 1/4)and a package of the wrong strength but correct size. Which should I wear? (I’m on vacation and don’t have access to my orthodontist)

    • Susan says:

      Hey Katie!

      This is a tough situation. We don’t recommend using either the wrong strength or the wrong size. This can cause problems that might make wearing braces even longer. We recommend calling a local dentist or orthodontist and explain your situation and ask for the exact size and strength of the elastics you need. Most of them should have what you need, and you can purchase them. In some cases, they might even give them to you for free. Otherwise you can wait till the end of your vacation (I suppose it won’t be too long) and got the right pack of elastics at your grandad. It can increase the amount of time you have to wear your braces because of the possibility of movement your teeth in the wrong direction during your vacation.

  • Sharon says:

    Hi I’ve had my braces 18 months my last appt the orthodontist said they were ready to come off at next appt he replaced all my ligature bands and made my appt for 12 weeks as he couldn’t get me in for the 8-10 week interval , the appointments were cancelled due to the orthodontist going on long-term sick , now the practice is trying to find a locum orthodontist to carry on , the practice don’t know how long this will take , will this have any negative effect , could the ligatures fail due to being on too long and where do i stand with this situation

    • Susan says:

      Hey Sharon!

      This is a tough situation. It’s not often that something like this happens, but occurs enough that many offices prepared for it. In most cases, leaving the ligatures on a few extra weeks should not cause any problems. We recommend taking extra care with your oral hygiene, which will reduce future problems. If you do not feel your dentist office is working fast enough to obtain a new orthodontist, begin talking to other orthodontists in your area. They are probably experiencing calls from other people who are seeking them out to replace the orthodontist you just lost.

  • Greta says:

    Hi! What structure does one use to correct an open bite? My dentist made me wear it in a box shape but I sort of forgot which teeth I was supposed to put it on and the next appointment isn’t due for 2 weeks. Please help.

    • Susan says:

      Hey Greta!

      This is quite a predicament. Fortunately, you should be able to call your dentist and speak to one of the hygienists or the dentist themselves about how to properly wear your corrective device. They may move your appointment sooner or recommend different options.

  • Grace says:

    Hello, I have class 3 elastics, and my K9 tooth won’t stop resting on my tongue and it really hurts what should I do?

    • Susan says:

      Hey Grace!

      We’re sorry to hear about this issue. If you’re in pain, we recommend talking to your orthodontist about what’s going on. Often, there is discomfort wearing braces and during adjustments, but you should not experience lasting pain. If your canine tooth is bothering your tongue, you may need to speak about a correction. Because of the number of elastics on your braces, only your orthodontist will be able to make the changes to fix the problem. We recommend calling them as soon as possible.

  • Ross says:

    Why would I have to wear a rubber band from my upper right molar to my lower right canine? My Orthodontist doesn’t explain anythin to me, so I was curious.

    • Susan says:

      Hey Ross!

      This is an interesting question. We aren’t sure why your orthodontist would have a rubber band in that particular location. We lean towards believing that your jaw may be pulling in a specific direction and the rubber band is being used to correct the alignment. We recommend asking your orthodontist directly why you have a rubber band there. If your orthodontist refuses to answer or gives you half answers, we recommend finding a new orthodontist. As a patient, it is your right (and required under the law) for the medical professional to explain things to you.

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