Orthodontic Bands and Separators

What are orthodontic bands and separators?

Orthodontic bands are metal rings, usually silver in colour, that wrap around a tooth so that a brace can be attached to it.

Orthodontic separators are small elastics that are shaped like doughnuts.

When are orthodontic bands and separators used?

Orthodontic bands are used when we want to get a brace on your teeth. Usually, bands are only placed on the back teeth. The remaining braces glue on to the teeth rather than wrap around them. Bands are placed instead of the normal brace if we want to get a very good hold of the teeth such as if you are going to have jaw surgery. Bands also have the advantage of being able to be used with Trans-Palatal Arches and Quad-Helix Arch Expanders. Sometimes, the shape or position of the tooth means that a band is better than a glue on brace.

Obviously, our teeth are usually tight up against each other. Trying to pass the ring around the tooth would be difficult because there is no space between the teeth. Separators are placed in order to make that space.

How are bands and separators placed?

Separators are placed first and are inserted with a special tool. Slight tightness is felt when the separator is inserted. The whole procedure takes less than a couple of minutes.

You will be sent away for several days with the separators in place. When you return, the separators are removed with a probe. The correct size bands are then selected for your teeth. Once a correctly fitting band has been chosen, adhesive is used to hold the band in place. The rest of the fixed brace can now be placed.

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

Separators are placed at the start of treatment. Then an interval of a several days up to 2 weeks needs to pass before the bands can be placed. Once the bands are in place, you will see the orthodontist at the normal interval of 6 to 8 weeks.

How long will treatment with bands take?

The bands form part of the fixed brace treatment. Treatment duration varies from between 12 months and 24 months. Some treatments can be quicker and other may take longer depending on the correction needed.