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How to use rubber bands to close gaps in the teeth

Updated February 21, 2017

Unsightly spaces between the teeth, or diastema, can result in expensive orthodontic treatments and, depending on the cause, dental surgery. Using rubber bands made to fit over the teeth can gradually decrease the amount of space. It's possible to use rubber bands in conjunction with braces to move teeth forward or backward so gaps are closed while also correcting underbites or overbites. Using teeth bands are seen as a low cost, effective way to deal with space problems, and there are a number of things to consider before you begin using them.

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Ask your dentist for information.Teeth bands are considered a faster solution than braces, most testimonials report a two- to six-month treatment period before seeing results. Your dentist can tell you if you have structural problems that may require more extensive treatment. Some orthodontists worry that teeth do not move straight across, but are realigned at an angle and could result in a weakening of the gum. If your doctor does approve, using teeth bands at $19 to $40 dollars a pack (as of 2010) are much more affordable than porcelain veneers, bonding or braces.

Apply the bands correctly. Bands that are used to treat diastema vary in strength, size, colour and quality. Begin by slipping them around the teeth on either side of the gap and position the band in the middle of the tooth. Most users begin by only wearing them at night to determine their tolerance level. Take it slow in the beginning and be consistent. Manufacturers, like Orthofill, suggest wearing them for 12 hours a day and continuing until you are satisfied with the progress. After that, wear them for a period of two weeks to make sure the change is permanent.

Monitor your progress. Tooth bands can be purchased and used without your doctor's help, but periodic visits to the dentist are a good idea to check for any problems. Make sure you change them every night, and brush your teeth before applying a new set. If the gap reappears, makers of Orthofill recommend reapplying the band until the spacing is closed. Most companies indicate a small amount of discomfort in the beginning, which is a signal that that teeth are repositioning, but any signs of bleeding or severe pain means stopping treatment and going to your dentist.

Tip

There are clear bands available if you don't want them to be noticeable.

Warning

Tooth bands can cause teeth to close at an angle, weakening their position in the gum. Positioning the bands too far up on the teeth can cause them to slide under the gum line. Remember to change the bands every night and clean your teeth thoroughly.

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Things You'll Need

  • Teeth bands
  • Dentist

About the Author

Terry Hollis began writing professionally in 1999. His work has appeared in "Dance Insider Magazine," on BLARE.com and for short story readings at Emory University in Atlanta, where he now lives. He received his Bachelor of Arts in international studies from Morehouse College.

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