Elastics (Rubber Bands)
Wearing rubber bands correctly is critical – if you don’t know how to correctly wear them, please ask!
Wearing rubber bands incorrectly can damage your teeth by moving them in the wrong/opposite direction. If you have questions how to wear your elastics please, do not hesitate to call, email, or just stop by the office and ask us.
Why Do I Have to Wear Elastics?
Elastics are designed to move the teeth in a direction, which braces can’t do alone. They bring your bite together so that you can chew more effectively. It also helps with the final appearance of your smile.
How Often Do I Wear Them?
For elastics to be effective they must be worn 24/7. This includes when you play and sleep, unless otherwise instructed. Take them out only to brush, floss, put new elastics in, and eat. You should also wear the fresh elastics when you sleep. Every morning, discard the previous day’s elastics and replace them with fresh elastics from the packet we have provided for you. If you play sports, keep your elastics in unless you need to wear a mouth-guard. After removing your mouth guard, put the elastics back in. Part-time wear does NOT move the teeth, but it does cause them to be constantly sore.
Never Double Up on Your Elastics!
Unless instructed, even if you skip a day of wear. It may seem to make sense, but it will actually SLOW DOWN tooth movement and your progress.
What Do Elastics Feel Like?
Your teeth and jaws may be tender the first few days. The tenderness and soreness are normal and should not continue after a week, but please continue to wear them 24/7, even with the soreness. If tenderness persists, please call our office. Rinsing with warm salt water will soothe most aching.
What Will Happen If I Do Not Comply With Wearing Elastics?
Wearing elastics is an important key to the speed of your treatment and the final results we can achieve. Failure to wear your elastics full time or as instructed will lengthen your treatment time and will make it more difficult to achieve an optimal result. If you wear your elastics only intermittently (NOT full time), you will have constant discomfort because your teeth don’t have a chance to get used to them, so be sure to keep the elastics in FULL TIME!
Wearing your elastics for several hours, and then taking them off for a while, then putting them back on, etc., will make your teeth more resistant to moving in the right direction and slow down or stop your treatment progress. In addition to NOT moving the teeth, this part-time wear will keep your teeth constantly sore. Make sure to wear them 24/7!
What is a Quad Helix?
A quad helix is a custom fit orthodontic appliance for the upper teeth that is used to expand the palate. This appliance widens the arch of the mouth to make room for crowded teeth, correct a posterior crossbite, or to prevent thumb sucking. It is cemented by bands on the 6-year molars and is adjusted every 4 to 6 weeks until the adequate expansion is obtained. After this, the appliance must be worn for approximately three months before it is removed.
Are There Foods I Should Avoid?
Yes! Avoid sticky foods such as taffy, caramels, gummy candies, Starbursts, Skittles and gum as they might loosen the appliance. Avoid hard foods such as ice, nuts, and hard candy as these might break the quad helix.
How Do I Clean My Quad Helix?
Caring for the expander is easy. We recommend brushing after each meal with the help of an adult. Carefully brush around and under the appliance to keep it and your teeth clean and free from cavities.
What Does a Quad Helix Feel Like?
Initially, your teeth might feel sore after placement of this appliance. Also, you might notice extra saliva in your mouth and slight speech impairment. Speak out loud as much as possible during the first couple of days to allow your tongue to get used to it. This is expected and should go back to normal after a few days. For some people, the use of Advil or Tylenol can be used to help alleviate the soreness. If this is needed, it is usually only for a day or two. Certain areas of the quad helix, or bands to which it attaches, might bother your cheeks and tongue at first. The discomfort usually goes away after a few days, but the use of wax or wet cotton balls will help to minimize the discomfort while your mouth is adjusting. Rinsing with warm salt water and using Orabase numbing gel will help bothered areas feel better and return to normal.
What Should I Do If My Quad Helix Becomes Loose?
You should be able to tell if the appliance becomes loose. It is important to call and make an appointment to re-cement the appliance as soon as possible. A loose appliance can irritate the surrounding gums and can allow food to become trapped which could increase the risk of cavities. Please call our office immediately if anything feels loose or broken.
It is uncommon for a quad helix to break. The cause is usually patient abuse. Call our office to schedule an appointment for replacement. There may be a fee associated if a replacement is needed.
Class II Corrector
A class II corrector appliance is a fixed appliance that works on the upper and lower teeth at the same time. It works by pulling the top teeth back and pushing the bottom teeth forward so that your bite matches up. It is usually placed towards the middle of treatment to correct your bite once all teeth are aligned. On average, the appliance is in for 4-6 months but can vary from case to case.
What Does the Forsus Feel Like?
It’s usually uncomfortable for the first two weeks after the appliance is inserted. Chewing is awkward at first. To help with the adjustment period, rinse with warm salty water. At night, place cotton rolls between the cheeks and the springs to cushion the area while sleeping. Take Tylenol or Advil. Eating softer foods like mashed potatoes, apple sauce, mac & cheese, pasta, soup, yogurt, and eggs will help alleviate discomfort.
Are There Foods I Should Avoid?
Avoid sticky foods, like gum and lollipops. These can stick to and around your Forsus and may damage or loosen it. Also avoid chewing hard food such as ice. Take care when eating bagels, pizza, apples and pears. Break or cut these foods into small, bite-size pieces.
How Do I Clean the Forsus?
Brush your teeth three times a day and use fluoride toothpaste. If possible, carry a brush with you for use after lunch. The class II corrector springs look shiny when clean. If plaque is allowed to remain on the appliance, it will appear dull and may cause sores (ulcers) to form inside your mouth.
Can It Come Apart?
Yes. The most common way is for the rod to slide out of the spring when you open very wide, as when yawning. If this happens, don’t panic. Go to a mirror, open wide and use your fingers to compress the spring, and then slide the rod back into the spring. If it happens often, be certain to tell us at your next appointment. If you have trouble re-engaging the spring or something is broken, you may secure it to the arch wire with dental floss. Call our office to set up an appointment.
Fees For Replacement/Repair
It is not common for a class II corrector to break. The cause is usually due to improper use. Call our office to schedule an appointment for replacement. The fee for a replacement is $250.00.
Orthodontic Separators or Spacers
What Are Spacers?
Spacers are tiny elastics that are “flossed” between the teeth to make small gaps that are necessary to apply certain appliances or braces.
What Do Spacers Feel Like?
Most people are not bothered by spacers at all, but others find them uncomfortable. When the placers are first placed in the mouth, they make the patient feel like something is stuck between their teeth, like popcorn or a piece of meat. Do not pick at the spacers – they may fall out. There may be some toothache or gum pain because of the pressure against the teeth. This is temporary as spacers are usually in place for a few days.
What Can I Do If Spacers Are Uncomfortable?
- Avoid chewing gum or other sticky foods that can stick to the spacers and pull them out
- Avoid tough or crispy foods
- Cold drinks or ice cream may help to temporarily alleviate any discomfort
- Pain reliever such as Tylenol or Advil can provide relief for the pain if needed
- Warm salt water rinses may help
What If a Spacer Comes Out?
Do not panic. If a spacer does come out on its own, most likely the spacer served its purpose and we will see you at your following appointment.
Orthodontic Palatal Expander
The palatal expander “expands” (widens) your upper jaw by putting gentle pressure on your upper molars each time an adjustment is made. Your orthodontist will instruct you about when and how to adjust your expander. When you achieve the desired expansion, you will wear the appliance for several months to solidify the expansion and to prevent regression. Click to download instructions.