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Why do you need elastics for braces?

Why do you need elastics for braces?

Braces are an orthodontic treatment used to address alignment issues. In some cases, elastics may be used to help achieve the treatment goal. Here, our Surrey orthodontists discuss the use of elastics while wearing braces, including the different types and when you may need them.

Why do you need elastics for braces?

Braces are a treatment used to target orthodontic conditions and help patients achieve straighter, healthier smiles. The braces apply force to the teeth to move them into a new position.

This force is applied by an archwire that runs through small square brackets attached to the surface of your teeth. Some patients undergoing treatment with braces also require the use of elastics.

These elastics can help increase the amount of force applied to your teeth during treatment. They are connected to your braces using small metal hooks on each bracket.

What are the different types of elastics for braces?

There are many different types of elastics with different characteristics that can be used during treatment with braces.


The elastics can be categorized by the amount of force they can apply. There are three main categories:

  • light
  • medium
  • heavy


These elastics can also come in different sizes. The size of the elastic is measured by the diameter.

The size of the elastic needed will be determined by how far the elastic needs to stretch.


There are two common materials elastics are made from: latex and synthetic. Latex elastics are flexible and inexpensive, making them a common choice. However, synthetic elastic bands are frequently used by those with an allergy to latex.


Elastics can also be classified based on their intended use. Some of these include:

  • Class I: Horizontal positioning, creating a connection from a bracket to the jaw. This is commonly used to close spaces between teeth.
  • Class II: This elastic placement connects the teeth of the upper jaw to the molars on the lower jaw. This is often used to treat and overbite.
  • Class III: Elastics placed in the position connect the teeth of the lower jaw to the molars on the upper jaw to target an underbite.
  • Vertical: This placement creates a direct connection from the teeth on the upper jaw to the teeth directly beneath them on the lower jaw. This focuses on correcting an open bite.
  • Cross: These elastics will cross over the front teeth and connect the upper and lower teeth to address a crossbite.

Will you need elastics on your braces?

Not everyone with braces will need elastics. Your orthodontist will provide you with a treatment plan prior to placing your braces. This will include whether elastics will be needed.

How will you know when you need elastics?

When the elastics should be used also depends on your treatment plan. This varies from case to case. If you need elastics, your orthodontist will take the time to explain why and when they will be used.

Are you looking to straighten your smile? Contact our Surrey orthodontists to request a consultation today. We offer a range of orthodontic treatments to suit a variety of oral issues and needs.

Book your first consultation today with our experienced Orthodontists in Surrey.