Spacers Before Braces
By Kellyn Hodges on November 25, 2019
Getting braces can greatly improve your dental health and the appearance of your smile. Dr. Kellyn Hodges has helped countless patients in the Philadelphia, Bala Cynwyd, and Bensalem, PA experience the benefits of orthodontic care.
Before placing braces, it may be necessary to increase the amount of space between your molars or premolars. This is accomplished with orthodontic spacers. Let’s discuss how they work and why they’re necessary below.
What Are Orthodontic Spacers?
Also known as orthodontic separators, spacers are small elastic rings that are placed between teeth when space needs to be made to prepare for proper braces. Metal spacers can also be used if needed.
Spacers are commonly used on the rear molars to help accommodate the molar bands that help maintain the position of the braces at the back of your mouth. They can be placed elsewhere as needed depending on the needs of the patient, such as the premolars.
Why Spacers Are Necessary
Sometimes placing braces requires just a little bit of preparation. In order to make the orthodontic treatment process as effective as possible spacers will help give the molar bands the necessary space to get placed without harming the existing tooth enamel.
Placing Orthodontic Spacers
Dentists tend to place spacers by stringing floss through the band and running the floss between teeth to put them in place. The bottom of the spacer is located near your gumline, while the top of the spacer is about even with the crown of your teeth. It’s generally a simple process as a precursor to the actual placement of braces.
Discomfort and Tooth Sensitivity from Spacers
Patients will often experience some pressure around their teeth once spacers have been placed. Soreness and tooth sensitivity around the teeth is common, particularly a day or so after the spacers have been placed.
Given this, it’s usually a good idea to avoid crunchy foods that can place pressure on the molars as this typically leads to sharp sensations of discomfort. It’s also important to avoid hot and cold temperature food items as these can result in pronounced sensitivity.
Oral Hygiene After Spacers Are Placed
When you have spacers in place, be sure to continue brushing your teeth as you normally would. Avoid flossing around the spacers themselves to avoid dislodging them.
Certain foods could get stuck around or between spacers if you’re not careful. Because of that, we recommend avoiding foods like popcorn, or foods with tiny seeds or crumbs. It’s also important to avoid having candy given the increased risk of cavity or dislodging the spacers and cavities.
How Long Will I Need to Have Spacers?
Patients will typically have spacers for about a week to two weeks before getting their actual braces. Some patients only need spacers for just three days. Since it can vary, we’ll be sure to discuss these matters with you as part of the consultation process.
What Should I Do If My Spacers Fall Out?
If your spacers fall out for any reason, do not worry. Just contact our practice as soon as possible so we can replace them. It’s important that space be made between teeth to ensure the success of the orthodontic procedure.
Learn More About Orthodontic Spacers
If you live in Philadelphia and would like more information about spacers, braces, and other aspects of orthodontic care, be sure to contact a skilled orthodontist. You can reach our office in Bala Cynwyd at (610) 617-0700, in Bensalem at (215) 245-5100, and in Montgomeryville at (215) 412-9810.