Spacers for Braces in Atlanta, GA
Make room! Before braces are fitted on patients, spacers, also known as expanders, are sometimes used to make room between the back molars. The space created will provide adequate room for braces support bands or will just give enough space to prevent plaque, bacteria build-up and cavities once braces are attached. If you live in the Atlanta area and want more information about orthodontic spacers, contact board-certified orthodontists Dr. Ruchir Patel and Dr. Kal Thakkar at one of their Alpharetta, Roswell or Kennesaw locations. To get you started in the meanwhile, some information on how spacers fit into your treatment is provided below.
What are Spacers for Braces?
Approximately one week before Dr. Patel and Dr. Thakkar attach braces to your teeth, spacers may be fitted between your back molars. Spacers for braces are small metal or elastic bands that are placed between the back molars with dental floss to make room for the braces bands. You may also have heard orthodontic spacers called “expanders for braces” or “separators”. When spacers have done their job, pressure from the expanders will have created a small gap between the back molars. The gap will leave enough room for bands to fit or enough space to prevent plaque build-up when brackets are bonded onto the teeth.
Why Are Spacers Necessary?
Orthodontic spacers are used so that there is enough room between your back teeth to place your braces’ support bands. If the bands are placed around your back teeth without enough space, the bands will not fit properly, and you might experience unnecessary pain. You could also develop cavities if food gets trapped under the band or between the band and your gum line.
How Are Spacers Fitted?
Inserting expanders for braces is a simple process and does not take long. Like a rubber band, the spacer is stretched to make it thin enough to easily fit between your teeth. The spacer is then eased into position between your teeth, and the tension is released.
Are Spacers Painful?
Expanders used for braces are approximately one centimeter in diameter. It may sound like a large object to place between your teeth, but in reality, the gap is not that large since the spacers are placed vertically.
Some patients who get orthodontic spacers do not feel anything, while others feel like they have food trapped between their teeth temporarily. Any discomfort typically goes away after 24 to 48 hours. Patients with crowded molars may feel the effects of the spacers longer than patients who have some space.
How is Discomfort Managed?
Any discomfort experienced after orthodontic spacers are inserted should disappear within a couple of days. If you need a pain reliever, over the counter acetaminophen, ibuprofen and naproxen should do the trick. If your teeth are sensitive, switching to a soft diet for a day or two should help.
Is Special Care Needed when Wearing Spacers?
No special diet is needed when separators are in. You should, however, avoid sticky foods, such as chewing gum or gummy bears, which could cause the expanders to fall out prematurely.
You can brush your teeth the way you normally do. The separators will not fall out if you brush vigorously. While your orthodontic separators are in, you should not floss. The floss could dislodge the separators prematurely. You should also avoid using toothpicks or anything else that could make the separators fall out too early.
Will Spacers Be Replaced By Bands?
In some cases, but not all, orthodontic spacers will be replaced with a metal band that will serve as a support for braces wires. In other cases, the expanders are simply used to prevent cavities before brackets are mounted to the back molars. Dr. Patel and Dr. Thakkar can advise you during your consultation what would be best in your particular situation.
How Are Spacers Removed?
Removing orthodontic spacers is easier than fitting them. If your spacers fall out before your braces are mounted, do not be concerned. Loose and dislodged spacers indicate that the spacers did their job and moved your back teeth adequately. If your spacers are still in place when you go to have your braces put on, Dr. Patel and Dr. Thakkar will remove them, which is a simple and painless process.
If you are getting prepared for spacers and have further questions, iClear Orthodontics is here to help. Dr. Ruchir Patel and Dr. Kal Thakkar are experts at getting patients from the Greater Atlanta area ready for a successful treatment. Contact us at one of our three convenient locations in Alpharetta, Roswell and Kennesaw to have any questions answered or to schedule an appointment.