Braces. You know them, maybe you even have them, but do you know how they work? Interarch rubber bands are part of the magic that has given a perfect smile to so many. So how fast do rubber bands move teeth? To understand a little more about how the whole process works let's discuss braces a bit and then we can answer your question.
Braces: Function for form
Maybe you have braces or a friend of yours has braces, but have you ever taken a good look at them. They are quite the feat of orthodontic engineering. The name 'Braces' comes from the part that is cemented to your teeth. Typically this is a metal or a ceramic bracket that is known as, hmm-hmm, a brace! Wire is run through these brackets, strengthening the tension and starting you on the road to perfectly aligned teeth.
What about those double rubber bands?
You are thinking of interarch elastics. Connecting bottom teeth to top teeth, this lets you shift correctional capability to where it is most needed. What else should you know about interach elastics?
- Composition - Most are composed of latex but there are alternatives if you are allergic.
- Faster Treatment - Elastics shorten your treatment time, moving teeth faster than a set of braces would if utilized alone. No, you can't double them up to move the teeth faster. One set is exactly the correct pressure for moving the tooth at the optimal rate.
- Eating with elastics : You will need to take them out of your mouth to eat and to brush. Once this is done, you can replace them easily with a new set. For fun, shoot the old elastics at friends if they make fun of your braces(just kidding, of course).
- Multifunctional: Depending on their positioning, they may also be used to treat an overbite or an underbite. The elastics in your braces will utilize many positions to fashion for you a perfect smile.
...But I don't want to wear rubber bands all day!
You might not have to. One fact we didn't mention is that some people only have to wear them overnight(or more realistically, for a period of 12 hours.). That means no one will even know that you are using the interarch bands unless you want them to. If you have to wear them longer there is one bright side. They come in a wide variety of colors so you can coordinate the color variety as you like!
Who thought them up, anyways?
The name that you are looking for is Henry Albert Baker. Born in 1848 in Newport, New Hampshire, young Henry would grow up to be a prominent American orthodontist. His major contribution to his profession would be the introduction of elastic tubing that he combined with what is described as a 'wire crib'. Their purpose? Why, the straightening of teeth, of course! They also prevented the need for corrective extractions in cases where teeth were growing in ways that pushed the other teeth out of alignment. He called this useful matrix of elastic tubing the 'Baker anchorage'. His original version utilized rubber, which tends to absorb water quite quickly. Thus in the early 1900's latex was adopted and later in the 1960's a switch was made to synthetic latex for even better resistance for the elastics. Now we even have non-latex elastics for those patients who are allergic. Thanks, Dr. Baker!
“He called this useful matrix of elastic tubing the 'Baker anchorage'.”
Teeth bands: Do they work fast?
Now we get to the meat of the article. How fast do these specialized rubber bands work? We can give you a basic timeline so that you have an idea of their workings and how much they are accomplishing in the time that you are utilizing them. Here are some general time guidelines to give you an idea:
- Rubber bands are put into place. Your teeth may feel a little sore initially getting used to them but don't worry, this will pass. Within 6 to 8 hours they will begin moving your teeth into the position that the orthodontist has positioned the bands for. Don't take them off during this period. Even a 30 minute break can reset the timer and your teeth won't start moving until another 6 to 8 hours have passed.
- Once you've gotten into the habit of wearing your bands for the prescribed time, it really depends on how much needs to be done. Typically you are going to be wearing the elastics for 6 to 8 months. Movement rate, per orthodontists, is going to be based on the applied force, the number and shape of the roots of your teeth, their response to the treatment, and most importantly, your adherence to the maintenance. As long as you are changing the bands and wearing them at the prescribed frequency, it should take 6 to 8 months.
Conclusion: Teeth bands, do they work?
Yes, indeed they do. As you can see from the history, they not only work but they have been fixing smiles since the late 1800's. While you or your child might not be very pleased about wearing those braces and bands at first, think about the model-perfect smile that will soon be coming. Keep your eyes on the prize! If you don't have braces and you aren't 100% happy with your current smile, why not visit your orthodontist and have a little chat? 6 to 8 months of this treatment can make all of the difference between a mediocre smile and the smile of an ACTOR. One might argue that this is very much worth a little ribbing from your friends. Just remember, if they make fun of you, that in under a year their teeth will still be imperfect while you... well, you'll be smiling, we imagine. We hope that you've enjoyed our little discussion, until next time, smile proudly!