After your orthodontic evaluation, your orthodontist will schedule to begin your braces treatment with ‘orthodontic spacers’ or ‘separators’. These are small rubber bands that are placed ahead and behind all your first molar teeth. An instrument is used to perform this placing. They are also available in a metal spring type variant. However, the rubber elastic one is more commonly used. Once they are placed, you may feel some discomfort in the gums in that area. On biting, you may feel something coming in between your bite. This is routinely done by orthodontists before they place the metal wires in the braces on your teeth.
What is the purpose of these orthodontic spacers?
During the braces treatment, orthodontist commonly use support from the molars to bring about movement in the other teeth. To gain this support, a thin metal band needs to be placed around the four first molar teeth in the mouth. These bands generally have a slot for the wire to pass through. But, in most cases the teeth are tightly placed against each other and passage of this metal band becomes difficult or impossible. So, in order to allow the easy passage of the metal band, these separators are placed between the first molar and its adjacent teeth. The separators tend to create space around the first molars by slightly moving the adjacent teeth.
After 1-2 days of placing the separator, your orthodontist can place the metal band and seal it in this place to enable it and the first molar to jointly provide support for orthodontic movements.
There may be mild to moderate discomfort when the orthodontic spacer or separator is placed. There can be pain in some cases, but it is bearable and there is nothing to get worried about.