If your orthodontist told you they need to add rubber bands, you may be confused. There are two main types of orthodontic elastics: ligatures and inter-arch elastics (rubber bands). Ligatures are small elastics that are placed around each bracket to hold the wire in place. They come in many different colors and can be used to push or pull teeth in a particular direction. Rubber bands are somewhat larger, also come in a variety of colors, but are used to apply pressure to the jaw to correct the alignment of your bite and reduce overbite/underbite.
Brackets with hooks are placed along the side of the mouth to hook the rubber bands from one side to the other. Rubber bands pull the jaw forward or backward in order to line up your top and bottom rows of teeth to improve your smile and make your teeth fit together comfortably when you bite down. They can also be used to speed up the process of moving or straightening a tooth or teeth.
Patients should follow directions carefully when wearing rubber bands for dental treatment. While rubber bands may be more painful and cause discomfort than just brackets and wires, following the direction will keep your treatment on schedule, and provide optimal results.