Elastics are essentially rubber bands attached to brackets, usually between the upper and lower or front and back teeth, to apply tension and cause teeth to move. They can be used in many ways, depending upon the treatment goals.

Elastics move the teeth in a direction they could not be shifted through the use of braces alone. Your teeth and jaws may be tender during the first few days of wearing elastics.

This sensation is normal, and the tenderness should begin to disappear within a week. If discomfort persists longer, please call our office. Rinsing with warm salt water will help to reduce the tenderness.

Your elastics may be difficult to put on at first, but it will become easier with practice. You should remove elastics when eating, brushing, flossing, playing sports/during physical activity, singing in choir, or if you play a musical instrument with your mouth. Follow Dr. Held’s instructions precisely with regard to how often to wear your elastics. Part-time wear does NOT move teeth, but it does cause prolonged discomfort.

Change the elastics routinely, even if they are not broken. After a while, elastics lose their strength. Change them after each meal and before bedtime. If one elastic breaks, replace both sides.

Carry extra elastics with you at all times. If you don’t have enough to last until your next appointment, please stop by our office to pick up more. Alternatively, you can give us a call, and we will be happy to mail you more. We don’t want you to run out.

Before you leave our office, please be absolutely sure you understand exactly where to hook the elastics. Hooking them on incorrectly can be worse than not wearing them at all, because your teeth might move in the wrong direction.

If you ever have any questions about how to wear your elastics, please do not hesitate to ask.

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