Oral Health and Genetic Risk Factors

Need Braces? What You Need to Know About Orthodontic Spacers

When your orthodontist tells you that you're going to need braces on your teeth, it's not always the case that your teeth will be ready. In some instances, the positioning of your teeth will need to be modified somewhat before they're ready to receive the braces. If the distance between your teeth is not sufficient for the insertion of braces, you might need to wear an orthodontic spacer for a short period of time. But what exactly is this? And what can you expect from an orthodontic spacer?

The Gaps Between Your Teeth

Teeth that are too close together can be problematic when they need to receive braces. An insufficiently large gap makes it difficult to attach a bracket to each tooth, as well as the metal bands that can be affixed to back molars in order to stabilise the braces. This is why it can be necessary to widen the gap between your teeth using orthodontic spacers.

Varying Needs

The spacers can be either be small pieces of metal or rubber, inserted between each tooth The amount of time that you'll need to wear them will vary from patient to patient, but it's essentially a short preparatory phase before the braces can be fitted. The type of spacers (rubber or metal) will also vary depending on your particular circumstances.

Sensitive Gums

Some minor discomfort can be expected when your orthodontic spacers are fitted. After all, they are gradually increasing the gap between your teeth. Your orthodontist might not necessarily receive your full dental history, so if you know that you are prone to sensitive gums, you might wish to request rubber spacers, even if it means they will need to be worn for slightly longer.

Minimising Discomfort

Discomfort can be minimised if you're careful. Some types of food should be avoided, particularly those that are excessively sticky. These can dislodge the spacers, meaning a refit is necessary, which of course will prolong the entire process. Some types of spicy foods can also cause discomfort due to the increased sensitivity in your mouth. Excessively cold food can also result in an unpleasant sensation, so be wary about frozen treats such as ice cream. A bit of trial and error might be needed to test your comfort levels.

It's important to know that orthodontic spacers are only a temporary measure, though one that is absolutely necessary in some cases if your dental braces are to be effective.