How to Use Rubber Bands for Braces

rubber bands for braces

Do you know how to put the rubber bands for braces on properly? There is more than one way to do it.

Plus, getting them on right is very important. They keep the braces held tightly and provide the pressure needed to move your teeth slowly into the correct position. If you have them on wrong or leave them off, then the treatment is going to be a lot slower for you.

This is how and why you should wear braces with rubber bands.

Purpose of Rubber Bands

It might seem weird that you have to put a piece of rubber in your mouth, but that small band helps keep the treatment working properly. Rubber bands align your top and bottom teeth, making them crucial for the bite-fixing stage of your orthodontic treatment.

Since this is the most difficult part of the braces process, you will want to be sure that you wear them correctly and do not leave them off after eating.

How to Use Rubber Bands

One of the fun parts of rubber bands is that they come in a lot of colors. You can choose your braces colors as well, so feel free to mix and match however you like! There are a few different ways to put your rubber bands on.

Using Your Fingers

Your fingers are the most likely tool you will use to put on your rubber bands, it is also the easiest method. To get started, stand in front of a mirror. Hold the band between your pointer finger and thumb, then slide it through the top hook on your top braces. Pull the rubber band down to hook it to the bottom set of teeth.

This is quite easy once you have gotten the hang of it. You will have enough practice since you need to take them out to eat, so you can be sure you will catch on quickly.

Using a Hook

If you are having trouble attaching the rubber bands, then you can ask us for a plastic hook. This special tool is designed for placing the bands in your mouth.

With a plastic hook, you place the band on it, then use it to connect it to the top hook on your bracket. From there, you pull it downwards and connect it to the bottom hook. This process is the same as using your fingers, except you put the band on the hook first.

People with long nails tend to like using this tool more than their fingers, as it allows them to grip the rubber band better and ensure that it is connected properly.

How to Use Rubber Bands on an Open Bite

When the teeth do not touch the bottom teeth, you will need to align your rubber bands in a specific way to have them work right. This is usually a triangle pattern.

You would first hook the top teeth with the rubber band and pull it towards the bottom teeth, hooking it over the two brackets there. Over time, this will pull the top teeth closer to your bottom ones, filling in the open space that was there.

How to Use Rubber Bands on an Overbite

When you have an overbite, the hooks on the braces are in different positions. You would want to wear the rubber bands with them stretching from the bottom, back teeth to the front, top teeth.

Wearing them this way applies more pressure in areas that pull the bottom teeth forward and push the overbite back. It can be tricky to get the rubber bands on, so we recommend doing it in front of a mirror. That way, you can see the hooks on your brackets easier.

It can also help to take a picture of where the rubber bands are sitting when you get them put on at our office. Then, you can compare the rubber bands you put on at home to the picture, so you can be sure that you have them in the right spots.

How to Use Rubber Bands on an Underbite

Underbites can also be tricky to get the rubber bands on right. If you have an underbite, you will be attaching the bands in the reverse of the overbite.

You would connect the rubber band to the hook on the back, top teeth, and stretch the rubber band down to the front teeth on the bottom. When the band is stretched like this, it applies pressure to pull the top row of teeth outwards while pushing the bottom row back.

Sometimes, it can be difficult to reach the bracket hooks when you have an under or overbite. Our orthodontic experts can help you by teaching you and showing you the right way to attach your elastics.

If you are searching for braces for kids, do not worry. Many children easily learn how to properly attach their rubber bands. We will teach the parent and the child when they are at the office, so if they are too young to remember how to use them, you will be able to help.

How Often Do I Wear Rubber Bands?

You will likely need to have rubber bands in your mouth at all times. Your orthodontist will let you know if it is alright to have them out at certain times. Of course, you can take them out to brush your teeth or eat.

How Often Do I Need to Change My Rubber Bands?

Whenever you take them out to eat, add a new set in. If you use them for too long, they are more likely to snap. On a typical day, you might go through 4 or 5 rubber bands. This sounds like a lot, but installing them is easy once you have done it a couple of times.


Be sure that you never skip out on wearing your rubber bands! They are an important part of the treatment you are going through.

If you run out of rubber bands or have other issues with your braces, be sure to get in touch with us as soon as you can.