Orthodontic Bands and Separators

Now that you have had bands or separators placed, you may have some questions you would like answered.

What should I expect in the first week?

Almost as soon as bands or separators are placed, you will notice an increase in the volume of saliva in your mouth. This saliva should be swallowed as normal and not slurped or spat out. This excess saliva will resolve within a few days.

Your lips and cheeks may also feel a bit tender in the areas that press against the bands and again this will also improve within a few days. We will provide you with some wax which you can use if the problem persists. We will show you how to use it.

Talking is not usually affected when you only have bands or separators in your mouth.

Your teeth will start to feel tender by about the end of the first day and this is normal. Separators feel like some food is stuck between your teeth. This will pass after a few days. Patients do not usually need to take any painkillers but if you feel that this is necessary for you, the normal painkillers you take for pain control should be used (ensure you follow the instructions on the packet).

Do I eat and drink as normal?

It will be a little difficult to eat initially so it is best to start with soft food such as pasta, rice, soft fish or yogurt. As you get more use to the bands or separators you will feel more comfortable eating firmer food. Remember to clean your teeth after each meal and if this is not possible, at least rinse your mouth with water.

Some foods are certain to damage bands and pull out separators and these should be avoided. Chewing gum, hard sweets and toffees should not be consumed.

Your teeth are also more vulnerable to attack from sugars when you wear bands. For this reason, you should limit your intake of sugary snacks such as sweets, chocolates, cakes and biscuits. Fizzy drinks should be stopped until your brace work is finished and you should be careful with fruit juices and flavoured bottled water which often have hidden sugars. These drinks are fine with your main meals but in between meals, the safest drink is plain water.

How do I clean the around bands and separators?

You should brush your teeth after every meal and if this is not possible, at least rinse your mouth with water.

Twice a day, you should concentrate on the areas between the bands and the gums. We will show you the technique to use. Done properly, you will need to spend about 6 minutes cleaning your teeth in the mornings and 6 minutes just before bed. Normal brushing should not pull out separators.

Make sure you are using fluoride toothpaste. A fluoride mouthwash is also beneficial and you will be advised to use this once or twice a day, ideally at a time other than when you brush your teeth.

If you struggle to keep the teeth and brace (including bands) really clean, we may recommend disclosing tablets. This is a coloured dye in tablet form which is chewed and the colour is quickly taken up by the plaque (colonies of bacteria) on the teeth and brace. This makes it easier to see where you need to concentrate your brushing.

How often will I need to be seen by the orthodontist?

Separators are kept in for several days. Bands are then placed and you will be seen at the normal interval or 6 to 8 weeks.

What happens when the bands are removed?

The bands are removed once the desired results have been achieved and they are usually taken off at the same time as the rest of your brace. You will then be provided with Retainers.

What do I do if I play sports?

If you take part in contact sports, then a mouthguard is essential. During brace treatment, a mouthguard is moulded around the teeth and the brace. It may have to be replaced more often than normal as the teeth will be moving. You can obtain one at the practice or at sports outlets. A mouthguard is also recommended for cycling and skating.

What about if I play a musical instrument?

Wind instruments can become more challenging to play with a brace. It is best to discuss this with your music teacher as sometimes a change in the mouth piece is necessary.

Should I still see my regular dentist?

Yes. The orthodontist will be addressing the orthodontic issues in your mouth so it is important to see your regular dentist at the normal intervals.

What should I do if something happens to the bands or separators?

If the bands or separators break or distort, or they start to cause pain, you should contact the practice as soon as is reasonably possible. You should not wait until your next routine appointment. Have a look in I Have A Problem With My Brace where you can find helpful tips on coping with common problems.

To reduce to risk of breakage, you should keep objects such as pens, pencils and fingernails out of the mouth. Also, try to avoid fiddling with the bands or separators.