What Are Spacers For Braces
Spacers, also called separators, are small devices used by orthodontists to create gaps between certain teeth before placing braces. These gaps allow enough space for the braces to be comfortably attached and adjusted..
What Are Spacers for Braces?
Spacers, also known as separators, are tiny devices used by orthodontists to create small gaps between certain teeth before braces are placed. These gaps, although temporary, serve an important purpose in the orthodontic journey. Spacers are usually made of rubber or metal and are quite unobtrusive. They might look like small rubber bands or little metal rings.
Why are spacers used for braces?
Spacers are used for a variety of reasons, including:
- To create space for braces to be placed. If your teeth are too close together, it can be difficult to place the brackets and wires of braces without causing pain or discomfort. Spacers create the necessary space so that the braces can be applied without any problems.
- To widen the arch of the jaw. In some cases, the upper or lower jaw may be too narrow. Spacers can be used to widen the arch of the jaw so that the teeth can be properly aligned.
- To separate teeth that are overlapping. If your teeth are overlapping, spacers can be used to separate them so that they can be moved into their correct positions.
What are the different types of spacers?
There are two main types of spacers
They are the most common type of spacer. They are made of small, elastic bands that are placed between the teeth. Rubber spacers are relatively comfortable to wear, and they are usually only needed for a short period of time.
They are made of small, metal rings that are placed between the teeth. Metal spacers are more durable than rubber spacers, but they can also be more uncomfortable to wear. Metal spacers are usually only needed if rubber spacers are not effective.
The Process of Getting Spacers
- Consultation: During your initial orthodontic consultation, your orthodontist will examine your teeth and determine if you need spacers. Not everyone requires them, but if your teeth are closely positioned, spacers might be recommended.
- Spacer Placement: If spacers are needed, your orthodontist will schedule a separate appointment for their placement. The process is generally quick and straightforward.
- Placement Procedure: The orthodontist will use a special tool to place the spacers between the teeth that need to be separated. You might feel some pressure, but the procedure is usually not painful.
- Adjusting to Spacers: After the spacers are placed, you might feel a sensation of pressure or discomfort for the first few days. This is completely normal as your teeth are gently being pushed apart. Eating softer foods and avoiding sticky items during this time can help ease any discomfort.
- Follow-up: Your orthodontist will schedule a follow-up appointment to ensure that the spacers are working as intended and that enough space has been created. This appointment is also an opportunity to address any concerns or discomfort you might have experienced.
What are the side effects of spacers?
Spacers can cause some mild side effects, including:
- Pain or discomfort
- Irritation to the gums
- Difficulty eating
- Sensitivity to hot or cold foods
Caring for Your Spacers
While spacers are in place, it’s important to take care of them to ensure they do their job effectively:
- Oral Hygiene: Continue brushing and flossing your teeth as usual. Cleaning around the spacers is important to prevent any food particles from getting stuck.
- Avoid Certain Foods: Sticky, chewy, and hard foods can potentially dislodge or damage the spacers. Be mindful of your eating habits during this time.
- Stay in Touch: If you experience extreme discomfort, irritation, or if a spacer falls out, contact your orthodontist. They will provide guidance on what to do next.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: How long do spacers stay in?
A: The amount of time that spacers need to stay in varies depending on the individual case. In most cases, spacers will need to be worn for a week or two before braces are applied. However, in some cases, spacers may need to be worn for longer.
Q: Do I need spacers before getting braces?
A: Not everyone needs spacers. They are typically recommended if your teeth are very close together, and there isn’t enough space for the braces to be placed properly. Your orthodontist will determine if you need spacers during your consultation.
Q: How are spacers placed?
A: Spacers are placed using a special tool that gently pushes them between the targeted teeth. You might feel a bit of pressure during the process, but it’s usually not painful. The procedure is quick and straightforward.
Q: Do spacers hurt?
A: You might feel some discomfort or pressure after getting spacers. This is because they are gently pushing your teeth apart. It’s temporary and usually lasts for a few days. Over-the-counter pain relievers can help manage any discomfort.
Q: What can I eat with spacers?
A: During the time you have spacers, it’s a good idea to avoid sticky, chewy, and hard foods. These types of foods could potentially dislodge or damage the spacers. Stick to softer foods to prevent any complications.
Q: Can spacers fall out?
A: Spacers can sometimes fall out, especially if you eat sticky foods or if they’ve done their job in creating the required space. If this happens, contact your orthodontist. They will guide you on what to do next.
Q: How long do I need to wear spacers?
A: The duration varies from person to person. Generally, spacers are worn for a few days to a week or two. Your orthodontist will schedule a follow-up appointment to assess the progress and determine when they should be removed.
Q: Can I remove spacers myself?
A: No, you should not attempt to remove spacers on your own. Orthodontic procedures require specialized tools and knowledge. Trying to remove spacers yourself could lead to unnecessary pain or complications.
Q: What happens after the spacers are removed?
A: Once the orthodontist is satisfied with the space created, the spacers will be removed. This is usually done just before your braces are placed. Your orthodontic journey will continue as planned after the spacers have done their job.
These small devices create the necessary space between teeth, allowing orthodontists to apply bands and other components effectively. While they may cause temporary discomfort, the ultimate goal of achieving a healthier and more aesthetically pleasing smile makes the use of spacers a valuable and essential part of the orthodontic process.