Are Rubber Bands Needed with Invisalign?

Published by Dr. Charles Gemmi

A Board Certified Orthodontist and a Diplomate of the American Board of Orthodontics, Dr. Charles Gemmi has been a practicing orthodontist with Orthodontics Limited since 2000 and is a member of the teaching staff at Einstein Medical Center. Orthodontics Limited is a Diamond+ Provider of Invisalign in Philadelphia and Hatboro, PA.

Yes, this means that Invisalign wearers sometimes have to wear rubber bands with their aligners. They are usually recommended when more force is need to move the teeth into proper alignment. Dental elastics are especially used to improve how your upper and lower jaw fit together.

Here is what you can expect if your orthodontist tells you that you need to wear rubber bands with your Invisalign aligners:

How Are They Attached?

You are probably asking yourself right now how do I attached rubber bands to removable aligners? Before giving you the rubber bands to wear, your orthodontist will place “buttons” (small plastic or metal brackets) on your teeth, usually an upper eyetooth and a lower molar so they rubber band can run from one hook to the other. Sometimes though the aligner itself will be one of the anchors for the rubber band. In this case your aligner, will be trimmed into a hook shape for the rubber band to hook on to.

The buttons themselves are pre-made from Invisalign and are simply adhered to your teeth.

How Visible Will the Buttons Be?

The buttons are typically made in a color very close to the color of your teeth to make them less visible and your orthodontist will place them as close to the tooth’s gum line as possible so this will make them less noticeable as well. Unfortunately, though, the rubber bands themselves will be visible when you are wearing them.

How Do I Care for My Elastics?

The elastics need to be worn every day. Ask your orthodontist whether you should wear them even when you remove the aligners to eat and drink. Some patients like to keep them on because it will help them do their job faster. Also you don’t have to worry about forgetting to put them back in after each meal.

The rule of thumb when wearing the rubber bands is to change them twice a day so they don’t lose elasticity. Make sure you take them when you brush and floss your teeth as well.

How Do I Know If I Need Them?

Good communication with your orthodontist is important. He or she should be able to tell you at the beginning of the treatment process whether you are going to have to wear rubber bands. Make sure you choose an orthodontist who has your best interests at heart and will always be open about every detail of the treatment process. Ask for clear or ivory colored rubber bands to make them less conspicuous.

Be prepared those first few days after starting to wear rubber bands with your aligners, to feel a little discomfort and soreness in your mouth. Once you mouth gets used to the extra pressure, however, it will fade away. The aligners themselves also can take a little adjusting to. Here are some accessories that can help:

  • Orthodontic Wax. Even though Invisalign aligners are usually more comfortable to wear, you can sometime still experience some discomfort from the aligners and any buttons or attachments the orthodontist might have adhered to your teeth to help straighten your smile.
  • Aligner Retrieval Tools. Usually there is a learning curve to learn the smoothest way to get the aligners in and out of your mouth and there are tools available that can make it a lot easier to get the aligners on and off your teeth and to make sure it is positioned properly. Look for one that is made of surgical stainless steel so it is easy to keep clean and will last you a long time
  • Invisalign Chewies. Chewies are another product that can help you with switching the aligners in and out. You can usually get them 2 in a pack.
  • Floss Picks. Food particles stuck in between your teeth or caked on your aligners can really be embarrassing. And unfortunately they can be more noticeable when you are wearing clear plastic aligners. The whole point of going with clear aligners is to make them not noticeable, but to keep them that way you need to keep them really clean. That is where floss picks come in. They can be really helpful to get rid of those unwanted food particles that inevitable get stuck between your teeth and on the aligners.
  • Travel Oral Hygiene Kit/Storage Case Combo. Probably the most important accessory for your Invisalign braces is a storage case that also doubles as an oral hygiene kit. You are wearing the aligners for 20 to 24 hours and will be taking them in and out at different times of the day so being prepared is key. You need a discrete place to store the aligners when you are not wearing them and you need to also have on hand all your cleaning products and tools because you need to clean not only your teeth and gums every time you take the aligners out, but also the aligners themselves. To have all this in a compact travel kit you can take everywhere will make your life so much easier.
  • Cleansing Towelettes and Sprays. If you are looking for quick ways to clean your aligners and freshen them up, you can buy cleansing towelettes that you can simply wipe your aligners quickly without the need to rinse them out. If you prefer a spray to towelettes, you can get a Invisalign and retainer cleaner spray.

The bottom line is to listen to your orthodontist and wear whatever attachments they recommend for however long you need to. While it might seem like a giant nuisance right now, not getting the right treatment now could mean poor oral health down the line.

For more information on the use of rubber bands with Invisalign, contact Orthodontics Limited today.

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2 responses to “Are Rubber Bands Needed with Invisalign?”

  1. Ellie Davis says:

    I didn’t know that sometimes you needed rubber bands with your Invisalign braces. My husband is needing to get braces and doesn’t want to get anything besides Invisalign. I’ll have to look into finding the best orthodontist in my area to get these for him.

  2. Rosalie Galvez says:

    In choosing the perfect color of elastics remember to stay away from green or brown colors as these can look like you haven’t brushed your teeth and have food stuck in them.

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