Elastics for Children – Full Time

Now we are really partners in your child’s treatment.

We want your child to wear their elastics full time.  Obviously, we have no control over the wearing of elastics after your child leaves our office.

Just so you know, full time elastics wear only works if they are always in your child’s mouth.  Always means always, except for eating and brushing.  ALWAYS. 

So, that means you are checking this several times a day for them.

We measured the distance that we want your child’s teeth to move and documented it in their chart.  We will check it at their next appointment.  If no progress is made, then the elastics are simply not being worn correctly and we will notify you.

Why wouldn’t any progress be made?

If your child misses just six hours of elastics wear during any given day, it takes three full days of twenty-four hour elastics wear just to get their teeth to start moving again!

Stopping elastics for just six hours causes the body to start solidifying the tooth in its current position.

So, if your child misses six hours of elastics wear just twice in a whole week, their teeth have not moved at all that week, and they have just added another week to their time in braces or clear aligners.

Let’s take this one step further:  If your child misses six hours of elastics wear pretty often, (and there’s a million excuses that kids have told the orthodontist about why they miss wearing elastics), then all your child is doing is delaying when they will get their braces off or finish with their clear aligners.

Absolutely no progress is made without full time elastics wear, so delays due to starting and stopping elastics wear means that your child’s orthodontic treatment will take much longer than necessary, adding to the cost of their treatment, or causing you to accept a less than ideal result for them.  We don’t want that.

As you can see, wasted time adds up quickly if your child does not wear their elastics full time.  You cannot make this time up!

Wearing elastics full time is like pushing a ball uphill.  If you stop, it doesn’t just stay there.  You lose time and you lose lots of it, very quickly.

So, you should be checking every single day to be sure that your child is wearing their elastics full time. 

If you see your child without their elastics in their mouth, you should immediately make them put their elastics in every single time.  Every time, no excuses! 

You should have one of their extra packs of elastics handy for yourself, so that there will be no waiting to have your child put their elastics into their mouth immediately and continue to wear them full time.  

This is especially important after eating.  Generally, patients take their elastics out to eat.  But, you must remember to put them back in after eating.  If you find that your child forgets to put their elastics back in after eating, then have them eat with the elastics in so that they don’t forget and delay their treatment.  

Use fresh elastics daily.  They take on water and become less effective.

You can give your child what you give them for a headache if their teeth become sore (but anti-inflammatory medications can slow down tooth movement, so find a medication that is not an anti-inflammatory).  They must continue to wear their elastics full time so that the soreness goes away quicker.  The worst thing to do is to stop wearing the elastics full time because teeth are sore.  Full time wear makes the soreness go away sooner.  Starting and stopping their elastics just delays their treatment and keeps their teeth feeling sore.

So, please help us help your child to wear their elastics truly full time so that we get them the beautiful smile that they deserve!


Dr. McCoy and staff