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The Purpose of Elastic Ligatures on Braces

Wearing braces provides an important array of both functional and aesthetic benefits. In addition to straightening crooked and unevenly spaced teeth and addressing problems with overbites and underbites, braces are intended to properly balance out a person’s bite forces. This limits undue wear and tear on the natural teeth by ensuring that each tooth is doing its own job when food is being masticated. As such, braces actually have the ability to prevent tooth damages, tooth decay, infection, and eventual tooth loss. Understanding how each component works in your orthodontic treatment is key to taking good care of your braces, getting professional help when things go awry, and ensuring an optimal outcome. Read on to discover the purpose of elastic ligatures on braces.

What Elastic Ligatures Are And What They Do

Rubber bands or elastic ligatures surround individual brackets in orthodontic braces. Given the delightful range of colors that elastic ligatures are currently offered in, you may think that these simple components are little more than accessories. In reality, however, they do a very important job. Their primary task is to firmly hold the archwire in the slotted position on each bracket. Moreover, depending upon how they are used and how they are attached to the teeth, these bands can additionally play a role in guiding tooth structures into the desired direction. With greater tension, more force can be applied to help expedite tooth movement or to overcome greater degrees of misalignment. Ligatures that are tightly applied promote more rapid and dramatic movement of the teeth as needed. As such, elastic ligatures are routinely inspected, adjusted, or outright replaced at each and every check-up.

Different Options In Elastic Ligatures

While offered in a diverse range of colors, elastic ligatures come in two basic types. The first of these are single elastic ligatures. Single elastic ligatures are available in one, uniform size. These can be tightened or loosened according to the level of force needed to ensure a successful outcome from the orthodontic plan. Given that single elastic ligatures gradually lose their strength, these bands will likely be changed during each check-up appointment.

Connected elastic ligatures offer greater strength and durability. Like single ligatures, these can be chosen in various hues. Often referred to as C-chain ligatures or power ligatures, these bands are slightly longer-lasting and may not need to be changed as often. Rather than being used solely to adjust the force being applied to individual teeth, these components are used to facilitate very specific orthodontic treatments that often involve multiple teeth. For instance, if select groups of teeth must be moved closer together or if significant gaps exist between the teeth, this type of ligature will most likely be used.

Not all Braces Ligatures Are Elastic

Not everyone who wears metal braces will be required to wear elastic bands. In some instances, far more force is needed to reach a patient’s cosmetic or functional goals. In these cases, ligatures made from stainless steel wire might be used instead. Similar in application, wire ligatures can apply far greater force between the tooth and the bracket. Much like tight, single elastic ligatures, the application of wire ligatures can foster rapid tooth movement and correct more severe alignment issues. Wire ligatures are often recommended for teeth that are turned or twisted to ensure that the archwire remains securely slotted in place. Wire ligatures provide reliable connections when the forces opposing the desired tooth movements are substantial.

Important Things To Know About Braces And Brace Ligatures

Having a choice of colors in elastic ligatures helps patients choose looks that they can feel comfortable with throughout the entirety of their orthodontic treatments. People seeking a more discreet look can opt for clear elastic ligatures in place of brightly colored ones. There are even light-colored silver and gray elastics that patients can use. It’s important to note, however, that those who routinely drink coffee, tea, wine, or other dark-colored beverages may want to avoid lighter elastics. Light-colored ligatures are more prone to developing and retaining stains than darker options are.

Broken ligatures of any type can have a negative impact on overall treatment outcomes. This makes it important for patients to report these problems as quickly as possible so that necessary ligature replacements can be made. It is also vital for those wearing braces to diligently avoid foods that might adversely affect their treatments.

Schedule an Appointment

To learn more about ligatures, braces, and the benefits of orthodontic treatment, or to schedule a consultation appointment, contact Swan Orthodontics today.