The wearing of elastics is one of most unpopular parts of orthodontic treatment. This is the aspect of orthodontic treatment that most patients often fail in and is the most frequent cause of treatment being delayed or treatment results being compromised.
There are two basic types of elastics: those that move the teeth in a front to back direction, and those that move them up and down. A Class II bite is one where the lower teeth are behind the upper teeth. The “Class II elastics” aim to bring the bottom teeth forward and upper teeth backward. Since the Class III bite is just the opposite, Class III elastics aim to bring the upper teeth forward and lower teeth backward.
Elastics are generally worn all of the time, even while sleeping. They are removed when brushing and flossing and can also be removed while eating. However, it is more advisable to wear the rubber bands even when eating to achieve faster results. It is important that elastics are worn within the prescribed amount of time. If they are worn less than the directed time, it could delay the progress of the treatment. The relapse rate of elastic wear is three times faster than the rate of improvement. Let’s say if the patient doesn’t wear the elastics for 6 hours a day and the rest of the time he wears it, he will get no improvement.
Once the patient gets used to placing the elastics, it will become very easy and he won’t even need a mirror. It is very important to follow the instructions of the orthodontist with regards to the elastic wear. Otherwise, poor elastic wear will extend treatment significantly.