What Are Molar Bands For Braces?
Molar bands for braces are often used when you have issues like crooked teeth, bite issues like overbites and underbites, or other significant issues. They are attached to the back molars to anchor bracket and wire braces.
Not everyone gets molar bands. For instance, if you choose to use Invisalign to treat your orthodontic condition, you will not have molar bands. They hold the archwires in place, and when your orthodontist tightens the braces, they will snip off the wires behind the molar bands.
Metal bands braces may also be used with other orthodontic appliances like an upper jaw expander or palate expander that helps widen your child’s upper palate and give them a broader upper dental arch. The palate expander attaches to the molar bands.
We’ll learn more about molar bands in just a moment, but first let’s take a moment to learn more from some of the experts of orthodontic medicine.
Before installing molar bands, spaces or separators are put between the teeth to gently push them apart enough to put in the bands (Malagan MA et al.,2014).
Without enough space between, the bands may not get seated correctly, and that can lead to other issues (Malagan MA et al.,2014).
Spacers should be easy to set and not cause much pain or discomfort. They should also give enough space between the teeth and not pop out while eating. In fact, they should stay put until the orthodontist is ready to remove them (Malagan MA et al.,2014).
What Are Molar Bands Used For?
As we mentioned above, molar bands are small metal bands on braces that are fitted around your back molars. Your orthodontist will affix them at the same time as he or she puts on the rest of your braces.
These braces metal bands are typically made of the same stainless steel as your braces. They are not so stiff that they can’t be adjusted to fit around the unique shape of your molar. If you need other pieces like brackets or headgear tubes affixed to them, those will typically be welded on before the bands are installed.
Not everyone who gets braces will need to have molar bands. They are used most commonly when someone has large gaps in their teeth, or a significant bite issue to address. Also, bands are used for patients who may be in danger of breaking off rear brackets when biting food or chewing.
Molar bands are also used when people are having surgery in conjunction with braces. The surgeon is able to tie a splint onto the bands.
How Are Molar Bands Applied?
Before you get your molar bands, you will be fitted with spacers that will go between the teeth your orthodontist will be affixing the metal bands on braces to. These separators will be worn for a couple of weeks in order to create just enough space for the bands to be able to slip on.
You may find that your gums feel a little tender or even itchy from wearing the spacers. This is normal because there is slight movement of your teeth happening.
When it’s time to get your metal bands braces put on, your orthodontist will use a tiny bit of bonding cement or glue and place each molar band around the molar that’s going to have the bands. The bands themselves are usually not painful, but you may feel a little bit of pressure or even a pinch as the band goes on, particularly if it is going close to the gum line. After getting your bands on, you may experience some soreness of the gums. Your orthodontist will provide you with some tips and tricks to help alleviate any discomfort you feel after getting your braces and braces on molars on, such as applying an ice pack to your cheeks, and eating soft foods for the first two days.
What Are The Benefits Of Molar Bands?
Molar bands are very sturdy, and they provide a solid anchor point for bracket and wire style braces or headgear. Because of the way they are applied, they don’t break off as easily as brackets alone can. That said, they are not completely impervious to being broken off, so you will want to make sure that you’re not eating things like ice cubes or hard candies that may loosen the cement and cause your molar band to become loose.
Molar bands have other advantages because your orthodontist can attach additional parts to them if needed.
Are There Any Downsides Of Molar Bands?
Some downsides to molar bands include some discomfort right after you get them affixed to your teeth.
Also, you will need to avoid any foods like popcorn, hard candy, ice cubes, whole apples, and other foods that can damage your brackets and metal bands on braces. For the next couple of years while you wear braces, you will be advised by your orthodontist to avoid all of them. Soft foods like mashed potatoes, ice cream, oatmeal, applesauce, and the like will become your best friends for the next couple of years.
You can also get relief from any braces and braces metal bands discomfort by taking over the counter pain reliever or applying a topical pain reliever to the gums.
If you find that your brackets are rubbing on the insides of your cheeks, you can also ask your orthodontist for a little bit of dental wax to put on your brackets and metal bands for braces to make it more comfortable.
Also, a soft bristle toothbrush will make it easier to get your teeth clean and not cause any additional irritation.
It’s important to keep your teeth clean when you have your braces on and molar bands make it a little trickier to clean your molars. Since the metal bands braces completely wrap around the teeth, it may be harder to brush and floss in that area. It’s important to use something like a water irrigation device to help blast out food particles.
You will also want to be sure to visit your dentist regularly, at least twice a year for professional cleanings.
Don’t have an orthodontist? We’d be happy to meet with you and provide you with additional information at a free initial consultation. Just click the link here or give us a call and schedule your first appointment today.
Malagan, M. A., P P, B., Muddaiah, S., Reddy, R., Shetty, B. K., Preetham, J., Naduwinmani, S., & Singh, S. (2014). Comparison between efficacy of four different types of orthodontic separators. Journal of clinical and diagnostic research : JCDR, 8(8), ZC41–ZC44. https://doi.org/10.7860/JCDR/2014/9963.4755