Spacers are often needed in orthodontics to help enhance the entire treatment process. A lot of people have a need for spacers to ensure that their orthodontic treatment goes to plan.
Wondering what spacers in orthodontics even are? This addition to braces or aligners may be recommended by a general dentist. This article outlines what spacers are, how they work and when they might be needed.
Why are spacers needed in orthodontics?
Keep reading to find out what spacers are and when they are used in orthodontic treatment.
What are orthodontic spacers?
Orthodontic spacers are also known as separators. They are elastic rubber bands or small metal pieces that go in between teeth, specifically molars. Whether the spacer is elastic or metal, it will be extremely small in the mouth. Depending on the patient's teeth, there may be anywhere from one to eight spacers placed in the mouth.
How are they used in orthodontics?
General dentists use orthodontic spacers for patients whose teeth are really tight together, specifically the back molars, which is pretty common in patients that need orthodontic treatment. Spacers are typically placed before the braces or aligners to help ensure that the teeth will be ready for the treatment to begin. The spacers help create gaps in the teeth so that braces or other appliances will fit correctly when placed.
A lot of patients wonder how long the spacers will have to remain in the mouth and the answer is anywhere from a week to two weeks. The timeline of the orthodontic spacers depends solely on the general dentist's recommendation and the patient's teeth. Teeth that shift quickly will only require spaces for a short time, but teeth that are extremely tight or take a while to move may need to have spacers in place for longer.
Things to know
It is good to be aware that spacers in orthodontics may cause some discomfort. When the teeth are extremely close together, the patient may experience some irritation to the gums, which can be uncomfortable. Another instance of possible pain occurs over time. The spacers may not be irritating when first placed, however, over time as they begin to shift the teeth, the patient may experience some soreness.
General dentists recommend that patients use a lot of ice and cold compresses around the areas that are in pain. Drinking cold beverages can also help soothe any irritations. Over-the-counter medications can be used to bring down inflammation and reduce pain.
Pain or discomfort should not last for more than a couple of weeks. Because the orthodontic spacers are only to be in place for a couple of weeks, the patient should start to feel normal again, once they are removed.
Get started with orthodontic treatment today!
Further questions or concerns about orthodontics or the use of spacers should be addressed by a general dentist. Reach out today to get help or to learn more!
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