Do I Really Need Invisalign Rubber Bands?

The Use of Invisalign Rubber Bands

At Gardner Orthodontics, we’re not just a leading Richmond, VA Invisalign provider, we’re among the top 1% of Invisalign providers in the country. This means we’ve helped thousands of patients perfect their smiles with clear aligners. Of course, many people choose this treatment option because aligners are removable, comfortable and virtually invisible.

So, it might come as a surprise if your orthodontist tells you that you’ll need rubber bands and attachments in addition to your aligners. Are Invisalign rubber bands really necessary? Does Invisalign work without attachments and rubber bands? 

In this post, the Gardner Orthodontics team will cover:

What are Invisalign Rubber Bands and Attachments?

Invisalign rubber bands are small elastic bands that connect to your upper and lower aligners. They attach either to your Invisalign attachments or special hooks built into the aligners. 

Invisalign attachments are tooth-colored, composite buttons that are bonded to your teeth. They’re small and barely noticeable. They give your aligners something to grip in order to achieve more complex tooth movements, as well as occasionally serving as a place for Invisalign elastics to hook onto.

Attachments help your aligners work with greater efficiency, therefore, decreasing your treatment time.

How Do Rubber Bands Work With Invisalign?

Invisalign Rubber Bands installationYour aligners move the teeth in each arch independently of one another. However, many times, in order to also align your bite (i.e., the way the upper and lower teeth come together), connective forces are needed to shift both sets of teeth into the ideal position. 

That’s where Invisalign rubber bands come along! The rubber bands, or elastics, provide this connective force. They create resistance between the upper and lower jaw and the pressure guides the jaw into position to fix an overbite, open bite, underbite or crossbite. 

Does Invisalign work without attachments or elastics? Yes, for patients with a healthy bite and very mild crowding or misalignment, Invisalign does work without attachments or elastics. However, for most patients, attachments are needed to give the aligners retention and to apply the right amount of force in the right direction. 

While everyone is unique and we create personalized treatment plans at our practice, many patients will also require Invisalign elastics to ensure that when the teeth are straightened, the bite is also aligned. 

If we do need to align your bite, you’ll typically wear two Invisalign elastics, one on each side of your mouth. The elastics typically run from an upper canine, or eyetooth, to a lower molar, though the positioning and size of the elastics used will depend on your individual treatment plan. Both Invisalign buttons and Invisalign rubber bands are small and discreet. 

How Long Do I Need to Wear My Invisalign Elastics?

How long you wear your Invisalign elastics will be determined by your treatment plan. Some patients wear them for their entire Invisalign treatment, while others only use them for a portion of the process. 

You’ll need to wear your Invisalign rubber bands for 20 to 22 hours per day just like your aligners. You’ll take them out whenever you take your aligners out, such as to eat or brush and floss your teeth. You’ll even wear your Invisalign elastics at night while sleeping.

Since the Invisalign rubber bands will stretch out as you open and close your mouth to talk, laugh and yawn, you should never wear them for more than 24 hours. In fact, to keep the rubber bands clean, effective and able to deliver the necessary resistance, it’s a good idea to put in new bands whenever you put your aligners back in after eating, which will mean changing them three or four times a day. 

How Do You Put Rubber Bands on Invisalign?

If you do need to wear them, Dr. Gardner, Dr. Tang or Dr. La Rochelle will show you exactly how to put rubber bands on Invisalign when you start treatment. But here are the basics:

  • Put your Invisalign aligners in your mouth.
  • Hook your rubber band onto either your top or bottom aligner.
  • Grab the rubber band with two fingers and stretch it so that it hooks over the tooth in the opposite arch. 
  • Repeat the process on the other side of your mouth.

What If My Aligner Hook or Invisalign Attachment Falls Off?

If a rubber band hook on your aligner or an Invisalign composite button falls off and you no longer have anything to hook your rubber band on to, stop using them. Continue to wear your Invisalign aligners and call our office to let us know. We’ll fix your aligner or attachment or make you a replacement aligner. 

If you still have questions about Invisalign with rubber bands, reach out to our office and we’ll be happy to help! If you haven’t started treatment yet and you’re interested in Invisalign in Richmond, VA, schedule a complimentary consultation at Gardner Orthodontics today! 

Gardner & La Rochelle Orthodontics in Richmond, VA