When it comes to correcting misaligned teeth and jaws, traditional braces are one of the most effective tools we have. Although the end goal is to create a beautifully aligned smile, there’s no reason you can’t feel confident in your smile while we’re working to straighten your teeth! One of the best parts of having braces is the fun that comes with customizing them. The elastic bands that surround your metal or ceramic brackets are offered in many different colors, giving you the perfect opportunity to add a touch of personality to your treatment.

Here at Thurman Orthodontics, we have a wide variety of colors you can choose from to help you love your smile throughout the orthodontic process. You’ll usually be able to pick multiple colors at once, so there are nearly endless combinations, but there are a few things to keep in mind as you make your choices. Before we outline these below, let’s take a quick look at the role elastics play in braces treatment, and why they’re such an important element of the treatment process.

Why elastics are used with braces

Once we’ve glued brackets to your teeth, we combine them with a set of wires that span from tooth to tooth. This will begin to produce force, but in order for the teeth to begin moving, something must connect the arches in order to correct the bite. There are a number of options to accomplish this, such as headgear and springs, but the most common method is rubber bands, sometimes called elastics.

There are two different types of orthodontic elastics, ligatures and rubber bands. Ligatures are the smaller of the two, and we fit them around the brackets to help the archwire retain its position. Ligatures also help to pull or push your teeth in the desired directions.

The larger form of elastics is generally referred to as rubber bands. These can be placed in several different configurations to match the tensile force requirements of your mouth. Elastics are also used to apply pressure on the jaw, helping to achieve the proper alignment for your bite.

At Thurman Orthodontics, we offer both types of elastics in a wide variety of colors.

Choosing the right colors (and learning which ones to avoid!)

Believe it or not, some patients just don’t know where to start when it comes to picking colors for their braces! Having so many options can make it difficult. A good place to start is with a color that compliments your skin tone. If you have darker or olive skin, jewel tones such as gold, turquoise, violet, or navy can brighten you up not only your smile but your whole face. If you have more fair skin, cool colors look best, making silver, sky blue, light pink, or lilac excellent choices. Most people tend to gravitate towards clothing colors that naturally flatter their skin tone, so choosing colored bands based on your skin tone means your braces will always look good with whatever you’re wearing, too!

There are some colors you’ll probably want to avoid no matter your skin tone, however. These include any colors that would give your teeth a yellow tone, mimic the look of tooth decay, or become easily discolored over time. Some examples of this include:

  • Clear bands – these can highlight any food particles that get stuck in your teeth, and may be prone to discoloration over time.
  • White bands – these can highlight any natural yellow in your teeth, and may also be prone to discoloration. 
  • Yellow and other light colors – these may enhance or highlight the natural yellow in your teeth.
  • Black bands – these can sometimes be mistaken for tooth decay or food particles, particularly once they begin to fade with time.
  • Certain shades of brown and green – these can end up looking like food particles stuck against teeth, particularly for those that are already on the yellow side.

No matter which color you pick in the end, a good dental hygiene routine is essential! Failure to keep your braces sparkling clean means they will basically up the “color” of whatever food you’ve been eating. That’s a combination nobody wants.

Choosing colors that mean something to you

Bands are changed out about every 4-6 weeks, giving you plenty of chances to choose different colors throughout the course of your treatment. Get inspired and creative! It can be a lot of fun experimenting with different looks. You can choose your braces colors based on anything from your current mood to the holidays to your favorite sports team. Some cool combinations we’ve seen patients try are things like:

  • your school colors
  • red and green for Christmas
  • orange and black for Halloween
  • red, white and blue for the summer
  • the colors of your favorite sports team
  • the colors you wear the most
  • coordinate with a piece of clothing you wear often
  • coordinate with a favorite pair of shoes

Did you know there are even glow-in-the-dark bands that look clear in the daylight, but turn neon green at night? Check in with our Bakersfield office to see if this is something we can hook you up with.

Assorted orthodontics elastomeric rings

Keep your braces looking good, whatever colors you choose

Regardless of which colors you decide to customize your braces with, you’ll need to be extra careful about keeping your teeth and braces clean and cared for throughout the orthodontic process. Brush your teeth thoroughly with fluoride toothpaste at least twice a day, though we recommend you brush after every snack and meal. Give special attention to the areas between your brackets and your gums, and carefully clean between the wires and your teeth. Brush for at least two minutes every time, placing the tips of the bristles flat against your teeth, and gently using small circular motions.

Flossing is an essential part of maintaining healthy teeth and gums, and should be done at least once per day. We know this can be challenging with braces, particularly in the beginning, but it’s not a step you should skip. That’s because it’s very easy for food particles to get stuck in the tiny crevices around your brackets and even in your gums, giving bacteria a chance to flourish if you aren’t removing the debris by flossing. If you’re having a hard time using regular dental floss, there are some dental tools that can help make it a simpler process.

Floss threaders, for example, work by pulling one end of the floss through the threader and feeding the threader under the archwire. All you have to do then is grab the floss on each end, and slide it up and down the sides of both teeth and under the gums.

Another helpful device is an oral irrigator like a Waterpik, which can be used in addition to regular brushing and flossing. These are designed to shoot small, pressurized streams of water onto the teeth, removing food debris and plaque from hard-to-reach places.

Remember to stick to the basics of braces care, too, and don’t eat anything you’re not supposed to! That includes any snacks or treats that are too crunchy or sticky. This can be one of the biggest learning curves for patients with braces, but it will protect your braces from damage and keep your teeth strong and healthy while we work to straighten them. Taking good care of your teeth and braces means your elastics will stay clean and the colors you choose will be vibrant until it’s time to change them!

Dr. Thurman patients smiling

Thurman Orthodontics gives you the best braces experience in Bakersfield

Wearing traditional braces doesn’t have to cramp your personal style! Being able to choose different colors for your bands lets you showcase your personality, and gives you a unique way to accessorize your smile until it’s time for your braces to come off. There’s no need to wait until treatment is complete to be confident when you smile! Get in touch with Thurman Orthodontics today to pick the colors that make you want to share your smile with the whole world!