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June 11th, 2021

How do elastics work in treatments?

Hi, I’m Dr. Mark Knoefel, from Oasis Orthodontics, where smiles come to life.

Many times I get the question, when I’ve told someone in a consultation, you’re going to need braces, or you’re going to need Invisalign, or clear aligners…am I going to need to wear rubber bands or elastics? Well what they’re referring to is these guys. And they come in these little bags and moms and dads will tell you that they find these all over the house. Well, the question is, what do these elastics actually do? Well, to answer that question, let me start by telling you what braces can’t do. So if you look at my buddy Harold, over here, he’s got top braces and he’s got bottom braces. Now, if you look carefully, these bottom braces are all connected with a wire, and these top braces are all connected with a wire, as well. So the top teeth can line up beautifully, amongst themselves. The bottom ones can line up beautifully, amongst themselves. But, what good does that do, if the teeth don’t fit together? And that’s exactly where elastics come in. So let’s talk about examples, all right.

For those who watched our overjet versus overbite video, well, this person over here has a large overjet, typically because either the top teeth are too far forward, or the bottom ones are too far back, or a combination of both. So you can hook up a nice rubber band, or elastic, from the top braces to the bottom braces. And that elastic, in this example, can pull back on the top teeth and pull forward on the bottom ones. Okay? So now you see how this works. So depending on which teeth you hook the elastics up to, and in which direction they’re pointing, well, guess what? The sky is the limit.

Let’s say the front teeth don’t touch. You can put elastics from the top teeth down to the bottom teeth, to bring them together. Let’s say the bottom teeth are off to one side, you can wear different elastics to shift them back over. So in the end, yes, we can have top braces align the top teeth, bottom braces to align the bottom teeth, but the elastics are what makes sure that they all fit together properly, in the end. Because it doesn’t do you any good to just have straight teeth that don’t touch. We want the teeth to touch all the way around, from the front teeth to the back teeth. We don’t want just certain teeth to touch because that can cause interferences. That can cause pain. It can cause those teeth that were down, it can cause jaw joint problems, which you might know as TMJ problems or TMD. So elastics are a very, very important part of orthodontic treatment. Very simple, but very, very effective. Check out our other videos on our YouTube channel and see what other questions we answer about orthodontics.

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What’s the difference between overbite and overjet?

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