Spacers For Braces: Why They’re Used

Spacers for braces are an orthodontic tool usually consisting of a rubber band or piece of metal that is used to create space between your teeth before braces can be put on.

When Do They Get Placed?

These small appliances are put in one to two weeks before the bands being used. This is done to create enough gaps for the elastic bands to be used later on during your treatment. This is typically an easy process with little to no pain. This is all done before the brackets are placed onto the front of the teeth.

How Long Will They Be In For?

The orthodontist will choose how long the device will stay in your mouth (usually 1-2 weeks). This provides enough time for them to create the space for the elastic bands to be used later on.

Do They Hurt?

These tiny devices are painlessly put in. Six to ten hours after they are put in you’ll begin to feel uncomfortable. They will create gaps between the teeth which is the primary cause of the discomfort. The teeth get irritated because the root (which is connected to the nerves) is being moved. It will be most sensitive the day after they are put in. The soreness will disappear slowly after each day. It’s perfectly reasonable to feel pain, discomfort, soreness and so on.

How To Get Rid Of The Pain?

If the pain becomes unbearable, talk to your orthodontist for remedies to the problem. Often Tylenol, Aspirin, and Advil are used to treat the pain. These typically do succeed in helping relieve the pain.

How Do They Feel?

When you have them placed in, it will feel as though the food is stuck in between your teeth. An hour or two later the soreness will begin to creep in; your teeth will also feel cramped together due to the pressure placed on them. If you feel a sudden pinching sensation, that’s because they are making contact with your gums. All of this is quite normal and common when you put them in.

The Application Process

The first thing you need to know is that these tiny devices are a circular rubber band roughly a centimeter in diameter. They are placed between the bottom or top molars. Getting them set in is both fast and simple, the orthodontist will string floss through a rubber band and then it is placed in between the teeth. The spacer will wrap around the contact area of your teeth. However, different types of separators can be made from metal clips that push your molars apart.

Care & Maintenance

  • Make sure to regularly brush your teeth and keep an eye on your separators. This way you’ll ensure that they don’t fall out
  • Avoid flossing or picking at them with a toothpick as this will cause the spacer to fall out.
  • The separators might fall out randomly around a week or two after they are put in. This is a sign that they have done their job and now you have enough space for your elastic bands to do their job.
  • Keep track of your separators because some might fall out without you noticing.  If this happens, contact your orthodontist as soon as possible.
  • In case they fall out, do not attempt to put them back in, call your orthodontist.

 What To Eat & What Not To Eat

  • Avoid foods that can get stuck to the separators such as candy, gum, butterscotch, etc. These foods can cause them to fall out.