Orthodontics can be a means of preparing your teeth for the perfect smile. You might be wearing your braces for months, if not years, but just think how beautiful your smile is going to be when your treatment has finished. That being said, some people require preparation before their braces can be fitted. This is not just mental preparation, as in getting ready for life with braces, but there can be some physical preparation too. When the existing spacing of your teeth makes it difficult for braces to be fitted, you might require the short term usage of orthodontic spacers. But what exactly are these?
The Space Between Your Teeth
In order for braces to be fitted, your orthodontist requires certain dimensions in your mouth. This is not related to the size of your teeth but is more about the space between them. When there is insufficient space between your teeth, it can be difficult (if not impossible) to fit brackets to the teeth with an archwire threaded between them. The orthodontic spacers themselves are generally small rubber loops inserted between your molars. The resulting space that these rubber loops will create will be minimal but is enough for the braces to be accurately fitted.
You won't be wearing them for particularly long, and your orthodontist will generally request a preliminary appointment for the orthodontic spacers to be fitted. This might only be one or two weeks before your braces are to be fitted. So while you might not be wearing these spacers for an extended period of time, they can be a little frustrating. Because the spacers are firmly wedged between your teeth, it can feel as though you've got some food trapped there. It's important that you leave the spacers alone, and don't attempt to adjust them in any way.
Some minor discomfort from orthodontic spacers is standard, but those with particularly sensitive teeth might find the whole experience to be uncomfortable. In this case, regular pain relief to desensitize your teeth and gums will be appropriate. Over-the-counter medication will be more than sufficient. In extreme cases, you might wish to numb your gums. Again, an over-the-counter remedy will be fine, and look for an anesthetic ointment with benzocaine as its active ingredient. Double-check any intended pain relief with your orthodontist, as they might have other suggestions applicable in your particular circumstances.
So when you're told that you'll need orthodontic spacers, don't worry. It won't be for long and is a necessary step for your braces to be effective.
Talk to a local orthodontist to learn more.