Orthodontic Braces Efficiency Enhanced With Rubber Bands

Rubber bands on braces can help your teeth move even faster.

A treatment plan involves slowly moving teeth in a strategic and coordinated fashion. Yes, we’ve said the forbidden word “slowly.” And yes, we know you might be asking yourself why moving teeth takes so much time.

To explain this, we need to use some scientific terms to reach our point but don’t worry; we will define each in a manner that is easy to grasp.

First, there is a part of a tooth you can’t see. This part locates below the gums and inside the jawbone. But how a tooth grows in a bone? Teeth and Bone are both hard tissue, so there is a tiny layer of soft tissue rounding the unseeable portion of a tooth.

The soft tissue layer has blood vessels that nurture the teeth. Also, the soft tissue has what is scientifically known as periodontal ligaments. These ligaments work like cushioning springs that absorb the stress at the bite.

The periodontal ligaments comprise fibers resembling springs that can regenerate destroyed fibers, making new fibers more than reinserting the primitives.

So, when a tooth moves, fibers break and regenerate in the new space. However, a sudden and forced movement breaks the ligaments in a manner they can’t regenerate, and your tooth might detach from it.

Therefore, orthodontists must apply gentle and calculated force (strain) to permit the blood vessels and ligament fibers to regenerate in their newer position without loosening your teeth.

But, sometimes, orthodontists may also need to apply a bit of extra strain on a particular tooth more than others. To do so, a specialist increases the force with orthodontic rubber bands, also named elastics or ligatures.

In this article, we talk about these little orthodontic superheroes that help enhance the efficiency of orthodontic treatment with braces. Hence, you get to know them better and familiarize yourself with part of the process.

What Do Rubber Bands Do for Braces?

Rubber bands are auxiliary tools an orthodontist uses to exert extra strain in specific areas when making a jaw displacement or a specific tooth movement, like when trying to close a gap.

To attain spectacular results, you might need to wear braces with rubber bands. In this sense, your orthodontist plans and anticipates the precise moment he needs to add rubber ligatures to the system.

So, once he cements the brackets, strategically choose the set of teeth with brackets that include a hook for rubber bands. At some point in the treatment, he will incorporate rubber bands to enhance specific displacements over others.

Consequently, here we describe what rubber bands do for braces according to the types of malocclusions they help solve.


An overbite is a malocclusion characterized by a protrusion of the maxilla. It means the upper jaw extends further to the front of the lower jaw.


This malocclusion type has the opposite characteristic of an overbite. In this case, the lower jaw extends forward to the upper jaw.

Open Bite

The characteristic of this malocclusion is that the front teeth don’t touch each other when the patient bites; this usually occurs when these teeth angle towards the front.


An orthodontist could diagnose a crossbite when the wider molars in the upper jaw don’t align with their counterparts in the lower jaw, making the bite pressure disperse unevenly. Unbalanced pressure causes excess stress in certain teeth or parts that ordinarily shouldn’t have worn down.

What Are the Types of Elastics in Orthodontics?

Different types of rubber bands depend on various factors, including the malocclusions they help solve. Still, we might also characterize them according to other elements:

Rubber Bands by Force

An orthodontist applies different levels of force in an orthodontic treatment depending on the orthodontic plan. Thereupon, they classify accordingly:

  • Light,
  • Medium, and
  • Heavy.

In fact, orthodontists studied how to apply force according to the pressure measured in grams (gr) or ounces (oz). A higher number of grams or ounces represent a higher strain level over teeth. Therefore, as an orthodontist increases the strain level, it also might impact the efficiency of the treatment.

Rubber Bands by Size

Rubber bands differ in their diameter, measured in fragments of an inch. The size depends primarily on its functions. The smallest ones apply extra tension to a wire holding it into position. Moreover, some ligatures extend from one jaw to the other.

Rubber Bands Material

The material in rubber bands depends on the patient’s allergies. Ligatures made of latex are inexpensive, more common, and more efficient. However, in some circumstances, patients suffer from allergies and require bands made of synthetic materials that are also hypoallergenic.

Rubber Bands in Accordance With Their Use

We previously mentioned some malocclusions that might require using rubber elastic bands. Here we include their classification in accordance with that description.

Class I

Diastema refers to the gap some patients have between teeth. A common and perceivable type of diastema is when you see the upper front teeth slightly separated. An orthodontist might use the opposite force from brackets and a rubber band to close the gap.

Class II

We referred previously to the overbite. In this class of malocclusion, the interarch rubber band brings the upper jaw to the back. Consequently, the anchorage hook in the upper jaw is further in front of its opposite, and the rear hook is in the lower jaw, producing a pulling tension from behind.

Class III

It serves to correct an underbite pulling the lower jaw backward. The pulling anchorage hook is in the upper jaw, and its opposite is in the front of the lower jaw.


The rubber bands link the corresponding teeth in the lower and upper arch to close the gap from an open bite.


A crossbite relates to a difference at bite between the upper and lower molars, so to get them in line, an orthodontist places the rubber bands in a crossed mode.

How to Put Ligatures on Braces?

We’ve mentioned that your orthodontist makes a plan before starting orthodontic treatment. This plan includes, in some cases, placing brackets with hooks that hold the ligatures and stretch them.

If, for some reason, you need to detach an elastic rubber band or broken ligatures, and you have extra rubber bands, you can reinstall it yourself easily.

First, check where the hooks are and hold a ligature with a tweezer. Next, affix the portion of the ligature that you’re not tweezing in the main hook, then stretch it to the other hook securing it.

For small braces rubber bands that hold wires in position, use the tweezer maneuvering to attach the ligature to the bracket.

What Happens if You Lose a Ligature on Your Braces?

An elastic ligature is a part of the plan, and if it breaks or you lose it, it affects the orthodontic program. If you can replace a ligature, follow the instructions described above or call Newpark Orthodontics, and Dr. Nima Hajibaik will help you solve the issue.

Creating Smiles That Matter in Roswell

At Newpark Orthodontics, we understand your smile is an essential aspect of your daily life. We call it social interaction, but it goes far beyond that; your smile is part of it.

Schedule an appointment or contact us; our kind and heart-warmed crew will create a serene environment for your comfort during visits and treatment.