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08/23/2016

What Do Spacers Do to Prepare Teeth for Braces

Article by Dr. Leaver & Dr. Gardner

Why are orthodontic spacers sometimes required before applying braces? Your Leaver & Gardner Orthodontist will determine if you have enough space between your teeth before your braces can be applied. Spacers are typically used on patients who need more space between their molars. Since the molars (back teeth) are very close together, your orthodontist will need to create a space between your teeth so that the component of your braces called a molar band can fit properly. To do this, your orthodontist will need to create a slight space to ensure that the band can slide between your molars during your next fitting appointment. When the orthodontists at Leaver Gardner Orthodontic place spacers between your molars, they can ensure that your molar bands will fit comfortable during your next appointment.

What Do Metal or Rubber Orthodontic Separators Do for Teeth?

Spacers are typically made out of rubber, are circular in size and quite small. Between one and twelve spacers may be placed, depending on the individual patient. Teeth move quickly so spacers are used for approximately a few days to a week before your braces can be applied. In some instances, your orthodontist may want to leave the spacers in place while the braces are being worn. If your orthodontist decides on this course of action, metal spacers will be used instead of rubber. Metal spacers are typically worn for longer periods of time but are not as common as rubber spacers.

Placing of Orthodontic Spacers

The application of applying the spacers is a very quick and simple process. Your Leaver & Gardner Orthodontist may use floss to string through the rubber spacer which will then be placed between your teeth. In some cases, your teeth may not have enough space so a special orthodontic tool may be used to stretch the rubber band around the tooth. It is rare to experience pain while the spacers are being placed.

What Do Orthodontic Spacers Feel Like? Do They Hurt?

Many patients complain that spacers feel strange, similar to the feeling of having food stuck between their teeth. Some patients experience sensitive teeth or teeth and gums that feel tender when pressure is applied during the bite motion. While this may be feel uncomfortable, it lets your orthodontist know that the separators are doing the job that they were designed to do. In most instances, the tender and uncomfortable feeling will only last for a few days. Your orthodontist may recommend an over the counter non-aspirin pain medication such as acetaminophen.

My Orthodontic Spacers Fell Out!

While the spacers will need to stay in place for a few days to a week they often will fall out on their own. Don’t be alarmed if this happens, it just means that enough space has been created between the teeth. Never try to remove the spacers on your own and never try to pick at them either with a toothpick or with your fingers as doing so may cause them to fall out too soon. If the spacers do fall out prematurely, it may make your next appointment painful as there may not be adequate room for the bands between your molars to fit comfortably.

Oral Hygiene Instructions

Good dental hygiene is imperative, and you should continue with your normal brushing regime while you have your spacers in place. Brushing your teeth will not cause the spacers to fall out, but you should not floss between your teeth while the spacers are in place. You can eat your regular diet but you should avoid chewing gum and sticky foods including caramel. For most patients, a week is ample time for an adequate amount of space to become available for your molar bands to be fitted. For more information regarding orthodontics in Las Vegas and the surrounding areas, contact the knowledgeable and friendly customer service experts at Leaver & Gardner Orthodontics today.