Traditional braces are one of the most effective ways we have for correcting misaligned teeth and jaws and creating a perfect smile. But there’s no reason you can’t feel confident in your smile during the orthodontic process! One of the best parts of having braces is being able to customize them. The elastic bands that surround the metal or ceramic brackets are offered in many different colors, so you can add a touch of personality to your treatment. Booth Orthodontics has a wide variety of colors you can choose from to help you feel good about your smile until your braces are ready to come off. Because you’ll usually be able to pick multiple colors at once, there are endless combinations, but there are a few things to keep in mind as you make your choices. We’ll outline these below, but first, let’s remind ourselves of the role that elastics play in braces treatment, and why they’re so important.
Why we use elastics with braces
After we glue the brackets to your teeth, they will begin to produce force when combined with the set of wires that span from tooth to tooth. This force will begin to move the teeth, but something must connect the arches in order to correct the bite. There are several options available for accomplishing this, such as headgear and springs, but the most common method is rubber bands, which may also be referred to as elastics.
There are two different types of orthodontic elastics, ligatures and rubber bands. Ligatures are the smaller of the two, and they fit around the brackets to help the archwire retain its position. Ligatures help to pull or push your teeth in the desired direction. The larger form of elastics are generally referred to as rubber bands and can be placed in several different configurations to match the tensile force requirements of your mouth. These bands are also used to apply pressure on the jaw, helping to achieve the proper alignment for your bite.
At Booth Orthodontics, we offer both types of elastics in various colors.
Choosing the right colors (and which ones to avoid!)
Many of our patients choose to go with colors that complement their skin tone. If you have darker or olive skin, jewel tones like gold, turquoise, violet, or navy can brighten you up. For those with fair skin, cool colors look best, so give silver, sky blue, light pink, or lilac a shot. When you choose colored bands based on your skin tone, your braces will always look good with whatever you’re wearing, since most people gravitate towards clothing colors that naturally flatter their skin tone. There are some colors you may want to avoid no matter your skin tone, however. These include any colors that would make your teeth look yellow, mimic tooth decay, or become easily discolored over time. Some examples of this are:
- Clear bands, which can highlight any food particles that get stuck in your teeth, and may also become discolored over time.
- White bands, which can highlight the natural yellow in your teeth, and may also be prone to discoloration.
- Yellow and other light colors that may enhance the natural yellow in your teeth.
- Black bands, which can mimic tooth decay or food particles, particularly as they begin to fade with time.
- Certain shades of brown and green can end up looking like food particles against teeth that are on the yellow side.
No matter which color you pick, it’s imperative that you maintain a good dental hygiene routine. If you don’t keep your braces clean, they will essentially end up the color of whatever food you’ve been eating. That’s a color nobody wants!
Color combinations that mean something to you
Since bands are changed about every 4-6 weeks, you’ll have the chance to choose the colors many times over the course of your treatment. Get creative and have fun experimenting with it! You can choose your braces colors based on anything from your mood to the holidays to your favorite sports team. Some adventurous combinations to try are:
- alternating school colors
- red and green for Christmas
- orange and black for Halloween
- red, white and blue for the summer
- the colors of your favorite sports team
- the colors you wear the most
- your favorite pair of shoes
Some orthodontists even offer glow-in-the-dark bands that look clear in the daylight, but shine neon green at night! Check with our office to see if this is something we can set you up with.
Keeping your braces in good shape, whatever colors you choose
Whatever color bands you decide to get while you’re undergoing orthodontic treatment in braces, you’ll want to be extra careful about keeping your teeth clean and your brackets, wires, and elastics in good condition. Brush your teeth thoroughly three to four times a day with fluoride toothpaste. Pay special attention to the areas between your brackets and your gums, and carefully clean between the wires and your teeth. Brush for at least two minutes each time, placing the tips of the bristles flat against your teeth, and gently using small circular motions.
Flossing is an essential part of maintaining healthy teeth and gums and should be done at least once per day. This can be tricky with braces, but it’s not a step you should skip! It’s easy for food particles to get stuck in the tiny crevices around the brackets and even in your gums, and flossing helps remove them. If you’re having a hard time with regular dental floss, there are some tools that can help you. For example, with a floss threader, you simply pull one end of the floss through the threader, feed the threader under the archwire, then grab the floss on each end and slide it up and down the sides of both teeth and under the gums.
An oral irrigator like a Waterpik can also be used in addition to regular brushing and flossing. These shoot small, high-pressure streams of water onto the teeth, removing food debris and plaque from between your teeth and braces.
Remember the basics of braces care and don’t eat anything you’re not supposed to, including any snacks or treats that are too crunchy or sticky. This will help avoid any damage to your braces. Caring for your teeth and braces means your elastics will stay clean and your colors will be vibrant until it’s time to change them!
Making braces better with Booth Orthodontics
Wearing traditional braces doesn’t have to cramp your style. The right color choices can showcase your personality and give you a unique way to accessorize your smile until it’s time for your braces to come off. You don’t have to wait until treatment is complete to be confident in your grin! Get in touch with Booth Orthodontics today to pick the colors that make you want to show the world your smile!