Braces can tremendously improve the appearance of a smile, but they're not the only tool at an orthodontist's disposal for you to get there. If you have overcrowded teeth, your orthodontist may also use teeth spacers to help even out the spacing between your teeth. Here's what you should know about them.
What They Look Like
The most common type of teeth spacers look a lot like small rubber bands. They're circular with a hole in the middle and are made out of tough rubber. They may also be brightly colored to help identify where they are in your smile easily.
How They Work
Teeth spacers are designed to help move teeth apart slightly, rather than large amounts like braces can accomplish. They're sometimes used in tandem with braces, but in other cases, they may be used before braces are put on or after they've been taken off, as a finishing touch.
Your orthodontist will insert one spacer between two teeth that need to be pushed further apart from each other. Although they're somewhat flexible, putting these spacers between your teeth applies enough pressure that it gradually causes the teeth to move further apart. Once there's enough space between the teeth, either your orthodontist will remove them or they'll fall out on their own.
How They Feel
When you first have your spacers put in place, you'll likely feel some tension in the affected teeth. This is because the spacer will barely fit when it's first put in, so you'll essentially be feeling it pushing on both teeth. However, this shouldn't be uncomfortable; you'll just be aware that they're there.
As the teeth start to spread further apart, you'll no longer notice that the spacers are there anymore. It'll become more comfortable and unnoticeable the longer that you have them.
Caring For Spacers
While it's generally recommended that you continue flossing when you have braces or a retainer, spacers are a bit different. If you floss between the teeth that have spacers, it could pull them out. While this won't cause any damage to your teeth, it means that your dentist will have to put a new one back in where the old one was pulled out.
Once your spacers are in place, simply floss between the teeth that don't have spacers and brush all of your teeth thoroughly. You can also rinse with mouthwash to help neutralize anything that may be between the teeth with the spacers.
If you have more questions regarding spacers or what might work for you, make sure to call an orthodontist like Reed & Sahlaney Orthodontics, LLP. You'll be on your way to having straight teeth in no time.