What are Spacers for Braces: Everything You Need to Know!

spacers for braces

Are you considering receiving traditional orthodontic treatment? It’s possible that your orthodontist will utilize orthodontic spacers. These are orthodontic appliances that are typically used in conjunction with braces. You can find all the critical information about spacers for braces in this blog. Continue reading to expand your knowledge

What are Spacers for Braces?

Spacers are tiny rings that fit between teeth and act as a buffer before the bands of the braces can be attached. While they may not seem an essential part of the process, spacers play a vital role in ensuring your teeth align correctly over time.

So, what are spacers for braces used for? Spacers create enough space between two teeth so that when the orthodontist attaches the bands around them, it will be done without applying too much pressure to either tooth.

They are used temporarily for 1-2 weeks. But, without this extra space created by spacers, it would be difficult to place the bands on without causing discomfort or pain.

The width of each spacer is designed to make sure there’s enough room for both bands to fit comfortably and securely around each tooth for them to move into position correctly.

What are the 2 Types of Spacers?

Spacers are vital for braces pain relief during the initial stage of the treatment. Orthodontists use 2 types of spacers. They are:-

1. Metal Spacers for Braces

These tiny rings of metal are placed in between two back teeth. They come in a variety of shapes and sizes. The orthodontists choose the size and shape depending on what’s needed for each patient’s mouth.

2. Rubber Spacers for Braces

These tiny elastic loops fit in between the two back teeth. They are often blue in hue. Depending on your individual condition, your orthodontist may utilize rubber or metal spacers. However, rubber spacers are more commonly used than metal ones.

Does Everyone Need Spacers for Braces?

Some people don’t require orthodontic spacers or separators since they already have enough room between the teeth. But it is a regular part of care for many people. Since a majority of people’s teeth are crowded together, spacers are required in the initial stage of their braces treatment.

Do Spacers for Braces Hurt?

You may wonder if you would feel pain or discomfort while getting spacers. When the spacers are put on, you can feel some pressure, which could cause annoyance or pain. Although installing the spacers may be uncomfortable, most patients do not experience this as being very painful.

Your level of sensitivity and how closely your teeth are packed together affect how much pain you experience. The spacers for braces hurt more to those who have very closely spaced teeth.

After 2-3 days, the pain in your teeth should go away, but you may continue to feel some pressure from the separators while they are in place. This only proves that the spacers are functioning.

What Can You Eat With Spacers?

It would be better to eat soft food with spacers. For instance, you can eat the following foodstuff with spacers:-

  • Applesauce
  • Boneless Cooked Seafood
  • Protein Shakes
  • Bone-less Meat in Small Pieces
  • Soft Bread & Baked Goods
  • Oatmeal
  • Soft Cheese
  • Small Pieces of Steamed Veggies
  • Soft Boiled Eggs
  • Fruits of Vegetables Smoothies
  • Yogurt
  • Pastas
  • Soup
  • Mashed Bananas or Potatoes

Take care not to remove your braces spacers after they have been inserted. Sticky or gooey foods may cling to the spacers and possibly cause them to come out. Soft foods, as mentioned above, can be a better option as they help to reduce discomfort and are less likely to dislodge the spacers.

What Type of Food Should You Avoid With Spacers?

You are unable to floss between teeth while they have spacers. So it’s best to avoid eating hard and sticky types of foods like these:-

  • Chips & Popcorn or Anything That Can be Stuck in Teeth & Loosen the Spacers
  • Sticky Food Such as Popcorn
  • Raw Veggies
  • Hard Cookies
  • Gum or Gummy Candies
  • Hard & Crunchy Cereals
  • Ice & Other Hard Foods
  • Hard or Sticky Toffies
  • Hard & Crunchy Foods Like Nuts & Pretzels

Some of these hard, crunchy, and sticky food exert excessive pressure on your brackets, leading to breakage and damage. They can even dislodge your braces spacers, encouraging bacterial development on the teeth. So stay away from them while you are wearing spacers.

How to Take Care of Your Spacers for Braces?

When wearing spacers, make sure to look after both your braces and your spacers. You can use the following suggestions to maintain your spacers:

  • Brushing your teeth, as usual, is still appropriate. Your mouth should be washed with water. Next, use your toothbrush to clean all of the surfaces of your teeth carefully. Pay close attention to your rear teeth.
  • You can floss your teeth. Just remember not to floss around the spacers. You might unintentionally knock one over.
  • Foods that are hard or sticky should never be consumed with spacers. Some foods could get trapped in the spacers or between them.
  • Considering the increased risk of cavities, stay away from sweet candies as well.
  • Your orthodontist will likely give you spacers for a week or two. Inform your orthodontist straight away if your spacers fall off in between. Your orthodontist may install another set of spacers for you. They may also determine that you don’t need additional sets as the space between your teeth is now adequate.

Spacers are a significant first step in your journey to straighter and more evenly spaced teeth. These spacers are designed to help prepare your back teeth for the bands that will be applied soon. So they won’t be needed for long.

If you have any issues with your spacers, don’t hesitate to contact your orthodontist. In the meantime, remember to be gentle with your teeth.

Have concerns with your braces, spacers, or other orthodontic issues? Book an appointment now to visit our state-of-the-art clinic in Rome, NY.

Dr. Satish Pai, M.D.S

Dr. Satish Pai is an orthodontist and Ivy League trained dentist who has served as a faculty at Columbia University. He believes a perfect smile not only makes a person look great but feel great. As the founder of Putnam Orthodontics and a Partner at Brite Orthodontics, he is dedicated to providing the best orthodontic treatments to his patients. He also writes to educate people about everything orthodontics and the importance of correctly aligned teeth along with good oral health. In his free time, you can find him golfing, doing yoga or surfing, and spending time with his family.

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