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Do You Need Elastics with Invisalign?

Invisalign Elastics & Rubber Bands

Invisalign elastics are an effective part of most Invisalign treatments. Not all cases require elastics (also called rubber bands), but if they're a part of your treatment, you can expect great results with the extra force they provide. Rubber bands are especially useful for improving bite alignment, such as correcting overbites or crossbites.

The elastics connect your top and bottom rows of teeth by attaching onto a specialized hook built into the aligners, or onto attachments (also called buttons). Attachments are small dental fixtures that adhere to your teeth to provide extra grip for the aligners, and to attach your rubber bands.

Both rubber bands and attachments need to be bonded and/or supervised by your orthodontist. If a company offers virtual orthodontic care with aligners mailed to you at home, they will not be able to use these tools to straighten your teeth. Without the effectiveness of elastics and attachments, it is much more difficult to predict the effectiveness of treatment, and in some cases can result in inaccurate results of damage to the teeth or gums. For thorough, comprehensive orthodontic care with results you can trust, we recommend seeking treatment with a licensed orthodontist in a real orthodontist's office.

What Are Invisalign Rubber Bands?

Invisalign rubber bands are small, discreet elastics that connect the top and bottom rows of teeth. They provide added force to the Invisalign clear aligners and are especially useful for correcting bite alignment.

They attach to your teeth using a special hook built into the aligner, or by connecting to Invisalign attachments, also called buttons. Attachments are small dental fixtures placed on certain teeth to provide extra grip for the aligners, as well as a hook to which the rubber bands attach.

How Do Rubber Bands Work with Invisalign?

Rubber bands provide extra force to the Invisalign aligners to align the teeth into their correct positions. They are especially useful in correcting the alignment of the bite, by drawing the top and bottom rows of teeth into their proper positions.

The rubber bands attach to the teeth using a small discreet hook in the aligner, or with Invisalign attachments. Attachments, also called buttons, are small fixtures made of dental bonding material, attached to the teeth. These attachments give the aligners extra grip to better move the teeth, and also act as hooks to connect the elastic rubber bands. You'll generally wear 2 rubber bands, one on each side of your mouth, and usually connect to an upper eyetooth and a lower molar.

Your orthodontist will provide you with a large package of rubber bands: switch to a new set once per day or as instructed by your treating doctor, to keep the elastic fresh and working effectively. If one snaps, switch it out immediately. Wear your rubber bands as much as you wear your aligners, 22 hours a day, removing only for meals, drinking, and brushing your teeth.

How Do You Put on Rubber Bands?

Rubber bands are easy to put on: put your aligners in first, and then hook the rubber band onto either the bottom or top aligner first, on whichever tooth your orthodontist has instructed you to use. Next, grasp the rubber band with two fingers, and stretch it to hook over the corresponding tooth to connect your upper and lower teeth. You can use a mirror while you get used to the procedure, but soon you won't even have to think about it.

Change out your rubber bands once per day or as instructed by your doctor, to make sure the elastic is fresh and working effectively. Wear the rubber bands whenever you are wearing your aligners, for at least 22 hours a day.

How Long Do You Wear Rubber Bands with Invisalign?

You'll wear your rubber bands throughout the length of your Invisalign treatment or as instructed by your doctor, based on your specific case. Your doctor will provide you with a large package of rubber bands: switch them out as often as you change your aligners, and don't wear them any longer than 24 hours without switching to a new pair. This will keep them fresh and effective. Throw them out after using them, and always switch to a new pair.

Can Invisalign Rubber Bands Correct an Overbite?

Yes, Invisalign rubber bands are designed to make Invisalign effective for correcting overbite, as well as underbite and open bite. In an overbite, the row of top teeth hangs too far over the bottom row of teeth: to correct these conditions, the extra force applied by the rubber bands is useful in properly aligning the bite. The ability to use rubber bands to correct complex cases is one of the critical differences between direct orthodontic care and mail-order aligner brands. Tools like rubber bands can only be used with direct supervision by an orthodontist, so cheaper alternatives using virtual doctors cannot use these effective technologies.

What To Do If Your Rubber Band Hook Falls Off

If the hook for your rubber bands falls off – or if an Invisalign attachment breaks off – stop wearing the rubber band on that side. If wearing only one rubber band is uncomfortable, you can stop wearing the rubber bands on the other side too until your hook or attachment is corrected. You can contact your orthodontist to schedule an appointment to reattach it or get a replacement aligner, or you can just wait until your next visit. Don't panic, it's not an emergency – your Invisalign is still working!