Orthodontic bands are custom shaped metal bands that fit around the teeth. Special cement is used to hold the bands firmly in place until it is time to remove them. Bands are used to hold brackets (braces) and appliances (expanders, space maintainers, retainers, etc.) firmly to the teeth. Because of their strength bands are often used in situations where regular bonded brackets would break off.
Bands can be placed on any tooth, but by far the most common tooth to have a band is a molar. Molars are the largest teeth in the mouth and are often used as anchors, meaning they have to hold against larger forces. For example, bands are placed on molars when Bitejumpers are needed during treatment. Molars are also the teeth of choice for holding certain orthodontic appliances in place, such as expanders, trans-palatal arches, space maintainers, lingual arches, and the Nance appliance. Molars are found in the back of the dental arches and therefore receive the heaviest vertical forces when chewing. Because of these unique roles that molars play they often have bands placed for orthodontic treatment.
Another reason for using an orthodontic band is to attach a bracket to a tooth to which it otherwise would not have a strong bond. Certain crowns and fillings do not bond well with the dental composite used to place brackets. If a particular tooth has a dental restoration (filling, crown) that does not bond well to brackets, or if a bracket consistently breaks off during treatment a band may be placed instead.
Placing and cementing bands
Before a band can be placed comfortably around a tooth, a small amount of space will need to be created between that tooth and the tooth next to it. To create this space a small elastic, called a separator or spacer, will be flossed between the teeth and left in place for about one week. Separators are normally placed the week before getting braces on or being fitted for an orthodontic appliance.
If a band becomes loose, comes off completely or is damaged during treatment please call our office for further instructions. As with most orthodontic appliances, very sticky foods as well as hard, crunchy foods should be avoided if you have bands placed. Popcorn is particularly problematic with orthodontic bands, as the small pieces of kernel shells can get caught in the gums, underneath the band causing inflammation and infection of the gums.