Braces or Bands
These terms are interchangeable and refer to an appliance stuck on teeth which, together with wires and elastics, put pressure on the teeth and pull or push them in certain directions.
These are metal rings which are more often used around molar teeth. They are cemented
in place and have a tube into which the archwire can be place.
When headgear is worn is connects into a tube on the band of the upper molar teeth.
Self ligating braces (see also Colourful orthodontics and Invisible orthodontics)
These are braces that have a wire holding clip incorporated into the brace, rather than
relying on the elastomeric modules.
The modules can be placed over the upper front self ligating braces to give a colourful smile. Sometimes we put the modules on diagonally to keep the archwire as friction free as possible as shown in the picture with the blue modules.
The self ligating braces have a small gate that is opened with an instrument to allow the archwires to be removed and inserted. The gates can be closed with just gentle finger pressure.
We also have aesthetic (clear) self ligating braces. This eliminates the disadvantage of earlier types of clear braces where the clear elastic modules used on the braces can discolour between appointments
Progress in the technology of archwires has been a major part of the “magic” of orthodontics in the last 10 years.
Archwires used in the initial phase of treatment have memory. This property allows the wire to be threaded to misplaced teeth. The wire will try to regain its original shape and gently straighten the teeth.
The main or working (as orthodontists call them) archwires do not have memory and can be bent and individualised at each appointment to suit each patient’s treatment requirements.
A band which needs to be cemented around a tooth is made of thin metal but it is not thin enough to slide between teeth in most cases. In order to get the band onto the teeth a little elastic ring is stretched around the gap between the teeth and as the ring tries to return to its original shape the ring pushes the teeth apart just enough for the band to fit in. The separator or ring is left between the teeth for a few of days and may make the teeth tender at first as it does it’s work.
These are tiny elastic bands that are placed between the teeth. When they are placed between the teeth they are stretched and as they return to their normal shape they tend to push the teeth apart slightly.
This makes a space between the teeth so bands may be placed more easily.
It is important to take care of the separators so they stay in place until the banding appointment. Please avoid sticky food and brush your teeth carefully, but thoroughly.
Your teeth may be a bit sore after the separators are placed. Try a normal pain reliever and this should settle down.
If your teeth are still very tender just before the banding appointment a pain reliever may be taken to make the banding appointment more comfortable.