Updated: March 2017
Spacers for braces are used by orthodontists on patients who are getting braces, and need more space between their molars.
When there is not enough space between the teeth, braces cannot be put on. When a you go to the orthodontist for your first visit, the orthodontist will determine whether or not you need spacers.
Spacers,when put on before the braces are placed on the teeth are made out of rubber. They are circular and are are very small. The are only about a centimeter in diameter.
Depending on the patient, between one and twelve spacers are placed. Because the teeth move so rapidly, it is only necessary to wear rubber type spacers for between one and two weeks.
In some cases, your orthodontist may want you to have spacers while you are wearing your braces.
If this is the case, metal spacers are used. This type of spacers are usually worn for longer than the the rubber spacers, and they are not as commonly used as rubber type spacers.
Spacers are typically painful. The amount of pain that you will feel, usually depends on how big of a space there is between your molars, if you have any space at all. When there is no space, or a very small space, the nerves in the gums can become irritated.
The spacers can also dig into the gums, causing them to become swollen or to bleed. In some cases, there is no pain or discomfort when the spacers are first put in, and they begin to hurt after a day or two. You may find that the spacers cause more pain when chewing.
This can make eating tough foods or crunchy foods very difficult. When the jaw is especially crowded, the pain caused by the spacers is very severe and constant. Metal spacers are more painful than rubber spacers.
In some cases, the orthodontist will place metal spacers which has a key or a string that tightens the spacers when necessary.
To get some relief from the pain that the spacers are causing, an over the counter pain medication is usually effective.
The pain is not severe enough to warrant a prescription pain killer. Also, eating something cold, such as ice cream or a popsicle can help to relieve some of the pain.
Once the spacers are placed, it is important not to pick at them or pull at them.
This can cause them to come out before they are ready. When this happens, you will not have adequate space between your teeth on the day that your braces are being put on.
The application of the spacers is a relatively simple and quick process.
In most cases, the orthodontist will string floss through the rubber spacer. He will then place the spacer between the teeth. In cases where the teeth have little or no space between each other, a special orthodontic tool is used to stretch the rubber band open.
There is rarely any pain when the spacers are placed. The pain does not usually start until after the spacers are placed, and that pain is not associated with the placement.
Spacers are worn until either your dentist removes them, or they fall out on their own. If you are chewing gum or eating a chewy piece of candy, you do not need to worry. This simply means that the spacers were ready to come out.
It is a problem if you pull the spacers out by yourself. If your spacers last long enough for the orthodontist to remove them, they will be removed immediately before the braces are put on.
Spacers are necessary to give you that extra space between your molars in order to have braces placed on the teeth.
While they may be extremely painful at times, fear not. You will only need to wear them for a week or two. After spacers for braces are removed, the pain will go away with them.
Learn what you want to know about spacers for your braces.