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Elastics are essential to the progress of your treatment. They provide the force or “pull” needed to move your teeth into a proper alignment to achieve a good bite. Elastics provide a force that can’t be applied any other way.

Before you leave the office, make sure that you understand where to place your elastics. You may need to use a mirror at first, but you will soon be able to change them without a mirror and with very little effort.

To help, we will give you a diagram to show you how to attach the elastics. We draw the positions on the diagram so you can see exactly to which teeth to connect the elastic. This diagram will be helpful at first until you become familiar with the connections.

The unfortunate truth of wearing elastics is that for elastics to be effective, they must be worn as close to 24 hours per day as possible, every day. It is essential to leave the elastics in your mouth to work all the time. Teeth respond to a constant force. There is a minimum amount of time, which could be more than 18 hours /day, before the teeth even begin to move. Only time accomplished beyond the minimum moves teeth.

If you forget to wear them for one day, the progress that you achieved for the last two days may be lost. You should take your elastics off only to eat and to brush your teeth. When you remove them, put them on your little finger, this is so you remember to put them back on. Some patients choose to eat with their elastics on and are rewarded with getting their braces off sooner.

Night time elastic wear will keep your teeth where they are. Wearing elastics only at night will not move your teeth to new positions.

For the first few days of using the elastics your teeth will be sore. It is normal. As soon as the teeth get used to the new pressure, the soreness disappears and your teeth move to their new position. A pain reliever such as Ibuprofen is helpful. As long as you continue to wear your elastics, the teeth will not be sore again. If you leave the elastics out for a prolonged period of time (days) or if you remove elastics to make the soreness go away, you will go through the soreness phase all over again. This pattern will make your teeth constantly sore, and worst of all, nothing will be accomplished.

Make you have enough elastics before you leave the office – take as many packs as you need. If you run out or lose them, come in and pick some up or call our office and we will mail some to you.

If you follow the basic instructions that we have given you and wear your elastics all day and all night, your treatment will progress as planned and you will be on your way to a beautiful, healthy smile!