How Rubber Bands with Braces Work

rubber bands with braces

When you get braces to straighten your smile, you’ll notice there are a few different parts that make up your braces. In addition to the archwire and brackets, which are the metal parts of braces, you will also get elastic bands with your braces. There are a couple different kinds of elastic bands you could get with your braces, and both play different roles in helping you achieve your ideal smile. 


The kind of elastic bands you are most likely to have with your braces are called “ligatures.” These elastic bands are small and attach the archwire to each bracket of your braces. The archwire provides the pressure that causes the orthodontic correction, so if it is not properly attached to the brackets, you teeth will not move. 

During each of your visits to have your braces adjusted, you will have your archwire adjusted and will get new ligatures to begin the next phase of treatment. Ligatures shouldn’t be removed by anyone other than your orthodontist since they are such an important part of your treatment. 

Interarch Bands

There’s another kind of rubber bands you may also get with your braces, called interarch bands. Unlike the ligatures, you will need to replace these bands yourself periodically for optimal treatment results. These bands are significantly larger compared to the ligatures. Rather than running across the whole set of braces, there are two interarch bands that will be worn at a time, which run vertically between the upper and lower jaw. 

The purpose of these bands is different from ligatures. These bands help correct issues with misaligned bites. If you have an overbite, the bands will run from the back of the lower jaw up to the front of the upper jaw. This will pull the lower jaw forward over time, allowing your teeth to bite down comfortably. Conversely, the bands will run from the back of the upper jaw down to the front of the lower jaw to correct underbites. 

To get the best results, you should replace these bands every day and wear them as many hours as possible. In addition to getting these bands with traditional braces, you may also have them with Invisalign Clear Aligners. On metal braces, the interarch bands will attach to metal hooks, whereas they will attach to plastic attachments on Invisalign aligners. 

Colored Bands

Elastic bands may not sound too exciting, but they are one way kids can enjoy their time with braces. You can get both ligatures and interarch bands in different colors, allowing kids to mix and match their colors for holidays, their favorite sports teams, or just for fun. 

To learn more about elastics with braces, or to schedule your free consultation and discover which treatment option is best for you, contact Dabney Orthodontics today!