Rubber bands are made of stretchy elastic material. They apply strong directional forces due to the tension created when you pull them apart. A rubber band is actually a type of spring, in which energy is stored by stretching the material.
Because of this elasticity, rubber bands come in handy for a variety of uses, such as holding things together. Orthodontists, on the other hand, have figured out to harness the stretching and pulling power of rubber bands for another purpose: straightening teeth.
By attaching elastic rubber bands to a patient's braces, orthodontists can apply forces to their teeth in a different way and in different directions than they normally would be able to using braces alone.
How do rubber bands for braces work? By applying force in the appropriate direction and strength which is determined by the way the rubber band attaches to the teeth.
Typically, a rubber band hooks to the top of an upper bracket and the bottom of a lower bracket of your braces. Like normal rubber bands, rubber bands for braces are stretchy and produce tension. The forces of tension pull on the brackets, and this causes the teeth and the jaws to move and eventually straighten.
A patient wearing the rubber bands on their braces normally leaves them on almost all day. Over time, the pressure exerted from the bands and applied onto the brackets slowly shifts the teeth into their proper position.
An orthodontist may attach only one rubber band on one side of the mouth, or several on both the left and right sides. The rubber bands can run vertically or diagonally, depending on the type of alignment necessary.