Complete Rubber Brands for Braces Guide

There are two main types of orthodontic elastics: ligatures and inter-arch elastics (rubber bands). Ligatures are small elastics that are placed around each bracket and are used to hold the archwire in the slot on the bracket. They typically come in many different colors and can be used to push or pull teeth in a particular direction.

Rubber bands on the other hand are somewhat larger, also come in a variety of colors, but are used to apply pressure to the jaw to correct the alignment of your bite and reduce overbite/underbite. They can be applied in number of configurations, but the most common is inter-arch (from the top to the bottom).

In This Guide

What Do Rubber Bands (Elastics) Do?

While brackets, archwires and ligatures are responsible for moving teeth along the gumline and the angle at which they point away from the gums, rubber bands pull the jaw forward or backward in order to line up your top and bottom rows of teeth to improve your smile and make your teeth fit together comfortably when you bite down. They can also be used to speed up the process of moving or straightening a tooth or teeth.

To accomplish this, brackets with hooks are placed along the side of the mouth – one or more on both the left and right side of the top and bottom set of teeth (see below). A band is attached on each side of the mouth – from one hook/bracket to the other. The angle of the band depends on how much pressure needs to be applied to fix the over or underbite.

A typical patient in need of elastics is someone with an excessive overbite. When the overbite exceeds the acceptable measurement (2-3 millimeters or around 1-2 sixteenths of an inch), an orthodontist may decide to implement rubber bands.

How braces fix overbite

There are two types of ligatures that an orthodontist may use. Single elastic ligatures apply force to the teeth at varying degrees. This depends on how the bands are tied onto the teeth.

The second type is connected elastic ligatures. These are used to close spaces between teeth or to move a specific group of teeth together in the same direction. Also known as a “power chain”, it is basically several ligatures connected in a row (picture below).

Both single and connected ligatures are available in different strengths and colors. The orthodontist will change ligatures during each follow-up visit.

How and When to Wear Them

Patients should follow directions carefully when wearing rubber bands for dental treatment. While the addition of rubber bands can cause significantly more pain, discomfort and inconvenience than just having the archwire and ligatures tightened once in a while, following the directions you are given will make sure treatment continues on schedule, provides optimal results and you will avoid prolonging the process.

In most cases, rubber bands must be worn 24 hours a day. Some dental professionals say that the only times you can take them out are to eat, floss or brush. Wearing elastics 100% is unrealistic in some cases as it is difficult for some people with certain elastic configurations to open their mouth wide enough to eat.

However, keeping the bands in while chewing can make the teeth to move faster and shorten treatment duration. It is also highly recommended that patients wear bands while sleeping.

Another important piece of advice for patients is to never double up on the elastics. While this might seem intuitive, it will not save time. In fact, a double application adds so much pressure that it slows down the movement of teeth and can damage their roots.

Components of Braces

It is recommended that whenever bands are taken out, they should be discarded and replaced with brand new ones. Depending on the strength/thickness of the elastics and what your day-to-day activities are, you might have to replace them 3-4+ times every day so you should keep a pack of them on you at all times.

It is also advised to change them at least once a day. This is necessary even if they do not break since they tend to lose elasticity and strength over time. Instructions may vary slightly from patient to patient.

Orthodontic office staff provides patients with complete instructions on how to remove and replace the bands. Most patients figure out how to apply them quickly and easily without professional assistance after a few days of practice.

Soreness of the jaws, mouth and teeth is normal for the first few days after adding elastics to your treatment routine. However, wearing them intermittently can cause constant discomfort and slow the treatment’s rate of progress.

Available Colors and Combination Ideas

Dental elastics are typically available in a rainbow of color choices. Children and teenagers often try out a variety of patterns and combinations of bright colors. Most kids are excited to take full advantage of the broad range of color selections from which to choose.

They may want to pick colors based on holidays, school colors or even colors of their favorite sports team. Since bands are typically replaced during each follow-up visit, children can make frequent changes to their color selection. This lets kids have some fun while enduring the discomfort caused by braces.

Inter-arch rubber band on colorful braces

Most adults may want rubber bands that are discrete, so they choose more conservative colors. These choices include clear or silver colored elastics. These colors are not susceptible to stains from certain beverages and foods and will not be mistaken for food particles or plaque.

Clear rubber bands are initially less noticeable than silver or gray bands. However, clear bands have a tendency to stain from drinking tea, wine or coffee. Sodas and dark colored foods may also cause discoloration of clear elastics.

If you are looking to buy rubber bands for braces online, please note that doing so is completely unnecessary in most cases (and it’s hard to find them anyway). If you require more elastics for whatever reason, ask your orthodontist for more and they will provide you with plenty more free of charge.

71 thoughts to “Complete Rubber Brands for Braces Guide”

  1. this is good information because my daughter was about to get braces but the doctor told us that she needs to grow some more grown up teeth.

      1. I got mine in April and they couldn’t put brackets on my canine teeth because I “need to have surgery to melt my gum because my teeth aren’t growing” so my braces process is going to be like 3 years. And I can’t get my bands like 6 weeks after surgery.. Smh. Freaking orthodotists.

        1. I got mine in June and they didn’t tell me anything and I also have canine it’s been a month and today I had my appointment and my right canine is actually really good it came down and it looks good except my left left is still up

          1. Rubber bands stink. I hate them. I have to wear Ernie bands and I’m getting my braces off in a week! Smh

        2. I’m currently 13, but got my full braces when I was 8… my orthodontist messed up my bottom jaw, and I told him that that’s not supposed to happen. He said “it was fine and normal” then my dad decided to switch doctors at when I was twelve, and Im still wearing braces XD… rubber bands are some annoying

        3. Its not their fault. If you want nice teeth, certain steps need to be made. Id rather go through 3 years of treatment & have nice teeth than only 1 or 2 and have half the results!

    1. Depending on how old your daughter is, orthodontists will not proceed unless your daughter is at least 12. The reason why is because you soon loose baby teeth in your early teenage years, or at the average age 12. Technically there is no average age, but that’s when we expect at least most of the patients baby teeth have fallen out.

  2. This was really helpful as I have braces in myself and needed to know more information about it.

    1. I think it is perfect cause I am getting braces soon and have to have surgery on my mouth before I get them!

  3. I’m actually wearing braces with elactics right now and had to search for it. I really doubled up the elastic because i need my wisdom tooth to take its place (as my dentist told me ) cause its really painful. After i read that i am just prolonging my agony i removed it quickly. My dentist didn’t advice me to double it up anyway. Thank you for the information.

  4. I have been wearing elastics for the past three months, and I find them highly inconvenient. I come to this page quite a bit to remind myself of the importance of compliance and consistency in elastic wear, and as a frequent educational refresher of the reasons why I am wearing these infernal devices. Thank you for providing this information.

      1. I got braces about 2 weeks ago, nothing to worry about, you can feel any pain when there putting them on but it’s a couple of hours a after when the pain will kill they bloody hurt and it could last up to a week, but after that it’s like you haven’t got them on! Good luck.

        1. If you have only 2 wks with braces I think it’s too early to have an accurate pain evaluation. I’ve had them for two n a half years and I have endured some very, very strong pain.

          1. i have had my braces for a year and a couple months. except my pain only happens when i get my wires tightened.

          2. I have had my braces for 6 months now. I got a power chain, square heavy arch wires and elastics yesterday. I have to say that the simple task of brushing my teeth this morning about sent me through the roof. Motrin is my friend.

        2. mine hurt constantly!!! I feel like a freak because no one else has this much pain…is it because I am older- 58? It has been 8 months and right now I want to go in and tell them I’m done- take them off! I took so much over the counter meds that I now have an ulcer and can’t take anything at all…….why won’t it stop hurting????!!!!!

          1. Holly, I can truly relate to everything you are saying ,none of the persons I know who have worn braces have complained this much. I’ve had them in for a year and basically have only had relief the last 4 mths. Every tightening is dreadful and now I’m on a second treatment with elastics. The first was horrible but I worked through it . Got new ones and different positions yesterday and my entire bite is off and in horrible pain. The only reason I have stayed this long is because I actually see GREAT results….

          2. your 58? well it will definitely feel bad cause the it hurts less if your young cause your teeth are still moving. Because you are older all your teeth are set and thats why it hurts so much. No offense, but at your age theres really no point to get braces unless your teeth were really bad. If not, They’ll just take a lot of time, pain, and money.

          3. Hello I’m 62 and got my braces about 8 months ago but little to no pain. Are you doing everything the doctor tells you, if so, then you should not be in pain. Good Luck to you.

          4. Holly just keep doing what the doctor is telling you it will stop hurting. I am 62 and just got my braces 8 months ago and it hasn’t hurt since two weeks after they were installed. My teeth were bad and I still look good, except for my teeth and I did not want to get false teeth. Lol

          5. I feel your pain. I’m older as well, and I find this to be incredibly painful. And I wore braces in my teens, it was nothing like this. And I feel so ugly. I look like a vampire now that I have the added rubber bands near the front. If they weren’t so expensive, I’d have everything taken off.

          6. Holly – I hope that your braces are either off or that your treatment is coming to an end…I’m 47 yrs old and I’m now 9 months in to my treatment. It has been more or less constant pressure/pain and this week I have raw cheeks thanks to elastic bands…all this so I can bite normally!! Every time my wires are changed it feels like my teeth are being pulled out! Please tell me it’s worth it!

  5. I’ve had my bands on my braces about a week now and I have just noticed from the removing the elesstics and putting the back on even though I was my hands before each time it has caused so much irritation on my mouth I have 4 different cold sores all following the line of the eleastic bands and I am wondering if that is normal or should I seek the doctors attention? It is very annoying as now I can’t actually remove the bands without risk of spreading It each time

    Or is there a way to put the bands on without my hands like any tools?

    1. Yes if you go on you tube and put in how to put on brace bands it shows you a small plastic tool with a hook , any way it seems your orthodontist has these tools stashed away because last night i found out about these things so i sent my husband back to the orthodontist and yes they have them but dont give them out as people have complained they cant use them, I tried on my son tonight and it was miles easier so good luck

    2. I’m not sure about the cold sores but you could always use some tweezers to put your bands in, or some sort of device with a small hook

      1. I’ve had my bands for 3 months and it hasn’t gotten better at all, it keeps getting worse to the point I can’t eat or talk

  6. I just got my rubber bands today… I’m in so much pain. I really want to take them off. Would I be okay to have a 30 min break and take them off to bring relief to my aching teeth?

    1. i would recommend not to do that because i have been doing that for about a year now and the orthodontist added 6 months onto my wear time. If you wear them for a few days to a week, you get used to them, and then they don’t hurt.

  7. Just bit of past experience here..
    i used to wear my bands then when they hurt take them out all the time, this added 1 whole year onto my braces, my teeth hadnt moved in 9 months then, now after wearing them fulltime for 3 months i get them off in less than a month. your pain will only last around 3-4 days and its worth it! trust me

    1. Appreciated for reply in this…I’m in 2nd day now and I was thinking I want to remove it during my lunch hour later, and now…I think I will try my best to endure it! hope the pain really only last within a week, god bless!!!

    2. this really boost my strength to fight the pain. im too lazy to wear my bands and I have tons of bands in my pursue, cant wear it coz its really painful. but now gives me hope, just a little time to endure the pain wearing my bands.

  8. My son was wearing bands for 6 weeks and now he is overbite. I am so worried. At first I tought that is how its suppose to be, but his teeth started looking really bad. He was not overbite when the treatment started
    He is only 8 years old. His orthodontic said not to wear them any more. She said that his teeth will go back to normal. I don’t understand why he wore them and will his teeth go back to notmal.

  9. I wore my rubber bands for three months in a triangle form first and after that mt orthodontic make me wear the in a Box form since I was diagnosed with open bite and gaps between my teeth. they really work, my bite is completely closed now and I only wore my elastic for 4 or so month, being consistent is the most important thing it makes your teeth move faster. I wear my elastic 24/7 and take them out when brushing and eating only. I sometimes cheat and double them up and it really hurts but my bite closed faster, so I didn’t mind the pain.

  10. I always forget to wear my rubberbands! Is there anyway to remind myself ( I sometimes ignore to wear the rubberbands)

    1. I used to always forget to put my bands on after almost every time I needed to take them out. My orthodontist told me to put them on my pinky while eating, brushing, etc. Trust me this actually helps. My orthodontist also told me that if I continue to forget to put them on, my treatment time will be longer.

    2. I always forgot to wear my rubber bands too. My mom and my doctor would get really mad. My doctor sends me a funny reminder every day from Now I never forget. The reminders are always different, but sometimes they are the same. The reminders tell me why I have to wear them.

  11. Does the rubber band change the jaw place for ever??? I have the same jaw as the one in the picture, when i put my rubber bands on, my upper jaw meets my lower jaw ands its so much better!! But i dont know if its going to stay like this after i take my braces off.

    1. Yes, the change to your jaw position should be permanent after getting your braces off unless your jaw is still growing.

    1. I don’t know about river bands, but I do know a type of brace that can fix underbites. They’re called lingual braces and they go on the inside of your teeth and push them out. The best thing is that you or anyone else won’t be able to see the braces from the outside! Hope this helps.

  12. Thank you alot i recently got braces and the rubber bands hurt alot so this was some really helpful advice

    1. I feel for you. I remember having a lot of pain and discomfort in the first two weeks. My teeth moved a lot in this short time too. Pain gets less after the first two to three weeks. I ate soup and bananas during this time, as it hurt too much to chew. Also, when you have adjustments you may experience pain, discomfort again.

  13. I have been wearing bands on the right side for six weeks, and during this period I have developed puffiness under my right eye. It doesn’t hurt to touch under my eye, but just wondering if it has anything to do with my braces and wearing bands? Or is it just coincidence. Back to ortho in the morning as my anchor brace on bottom left has come off. ???? I’ll be so happy when they are removed, but then I will have permanent wires at back of teeth, top and bottom’ so my teeth don’t move again. They say better than retainers as most forget to put these in every night.

  14. hi everyone
    I just got Invisalign recently and had installed buttons and rubber band holders.
    I’m worried because I think my orthodontist set up my rubber bands for an underbite. But He and I clearly have agreed in the past that I have a serious overjet. What should I do?

  15. Do the teeth move or does the jaw move? I feel like I’m adjusting the jaw myself and I don’t know if that will help if the teeth is actually supposed to move (to align my teeth when I bite)

  16. Does anyone else have the problem where the elastic bands stops you from fitting spoons or even forks in your mouth properly when eating? I was told to keep them in when I eat but I’m having to take them out and replace them after a meal?

    1. I’ve had to use plastic forks and spoons because my mouth doesn’t open wide enough to get food in. It hurts like hell to open my mouth any wider

    2. My orthodontist said it is perfectly fine, and he recommends, taking your elastics off while you eat. Just got mine two days ago and i’m already looking forward to getting them off.

  17. I got bands yesterday and my orthodontist told me not to wear them at school but didn’t give me a reason as to why not? Should I still wear them at school for full benefit because my dad is sure that she was only saying it because it might be a safety hazard? My friends still wear their bands at school thought?

    1. I would make sure it is okay with your doctor to double up your rubber bands. My doctor told me never to double up my rubber bands. I don’t know why.

  18. I had my braces four months ago and had fun changing elastics. It sucks every time I had adjustments since I always experience sores at my gum and inner cheek area. Also, I can’t eat nor chew a lot so soft food is needed. But after a week or two since the adjustment, it seems like it’s nothing there.
    What I always wanted is that my dentist explains to me every appointment on what he does during the procedure so I understand what’s going on in my mouth. No questions asked, I see the progress. Great Smile!

  19. I love my braces and then this year i will have bottom and top because right now i just have top and i like it but i can’t wait until i get rubber bands or retainer but the only thing i don’t like about braces is you can’t have caramel.

  20. Do the rubber bands keep you from opening your mouth wide? I’m getting braces and rubber bands soon, and as a singer, I’m a bit concerned this will affect my projection. Any singers have any advice?

    1. I’m not a singer but I can guarantee you it will affect your sound as it does affect your speech. I got my rubber bands on yesterday and it hurts really bad I couldn’t sleep last night and the orthodontist says I must double them so that’s extra pressure on both my top and bottom teeth. With these rubber bands it’s like your mouth is almost shut tight there is little room to open wide and talk much less to belt out melodies, but maybe you will have a different experience as I have noticed everybody has different braces experiences I personally love the look of the braces but I hate the pain and beauty really does come with pain. Good luck!

  21. Just got my elastics and they are soooo difficult to put on. Any tips cause I don’t really want to keep placing my hands in my mouth for 10 minutes straight, and what does it feel like for them to snap?

    1. I have had rubber bands for a week now and it gets much easier to put them on then in the beginning. Just be patient and keep trying before you know if you will be able to put them in without using a mirror.

    2. Hello Nadine,
      I just got my elastics a week ago. I first hook it on the top and then when I go to the bottom while looking in the mirror, I pull down the band to the bottom hook place it close to the gums under the bottom hook and then let go, and it stays it will get easier as you go. Good Luck to you.

  22. I’ve luckily only had to wear braces for 11 months, and I doubled up on the elastics for the two months I wore them. Other friends that have doubled up on the bands (when sleeping) tend to get them off much quicker. If your gums are healthy I don’t see the problem with wearing two on each side when sleeping. It undoubtedly speeds up the process and if your gums are strong and healthy and you only wear them whilst sleeping not much harm can be done. My orthodontist didn’t have an issue with it though only recommended doing so whilst sleeping.

  23. I recently went to get my braces tightened (the normal 4 to 6 week appt ) and this time around they gave me the little rubber band things. I keep mines on while I eat hell it doesn’t stop me but after eating I do brush and change it. I’ve had them for a couple days now and the pain has gone down, I get a little pressure when I change a new one, looking in the mirror I don’t see a change but when I bite down I can definitely feel how my bite has managed to fit better. I do not recommend doubling up on elastics unless you are a fool because that would cause so much more pain and if your ortho didn’t tell you to then don’t do it. Idk I like the whole concept of braces, maybe because I always wanted them as a teenager growing up. It’s worth the process and pain because my teeth have came a long way!!!

  24. My or orthodontist gave me the super heavy bands to wear but this is my first time getting bands, and I have terrible pain. was I suppose to get lighter bands??

  25. My orthodontist told me to double up on bands on one side, but all the websites I’m seeing it says not to, help!!

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