Did your child's orthodontist recommend molar band placement? Metal bands fit around, or band, teeth and act as anchors for orthodontic appliances—especially braces. Some dentists may opt to band more posterior teeth instead of using braces brackets to prevent excess pressure and breakage. If your child needs to be fitted with molar bands before proceeding with orthodontic treatment, you may have some questions about the process.
Who Needs Molar Bands Besides Patients with Braces?
If your child lost a tooth early, they may need to be fitted with a space maintainer. A space maintainer is an orthodontic appliance that saves space for incoming adult teeth. The space maintainer may require a molar band. If, for example, your child needs headgear or an expander, your orthodontist may fit your child with bands. Alternatively, your child may need to undergo oral surgery. If this is the case, molar bands can be helpful for these procedures since upper and lower bands can be wired together and act as a splint while your child heals.
Do They Require Special Care?
There are many pros to molar bands since they are quite strong and can prevent appliance breakage. However, they do require special care. Because the band encircles the tooth, it can be difficult to floss or brush the area well. Be sure to pick up waxed floss so that your child doesn't shred the floss on the band when they brush. You may also want to buy a water flossing device, which can loosen food debris and plaque that may be stuck around the band. With good care, molar bands can work well. However, if your child struggles with oral hygiene and is prone to cavities, then molar bands may not be the right treatment option.
How Are They Fitted Onto Teeth?
Because metal bands are pushed down over teeth and go slightly under the gums, you may be concerned that these orthodontic anchors are painful. However, this isn't the case. Before they are even placed, your orthodontist will use sizing bands to make sure that the final bands fit well around the tooth without injury. Then, the orthodontist may fit your child with elastic spacers, or separators. The spacers will slightly and gently separate adjacent teeth and surrounding gum tissue.
At the final appointment, the separators will be removed, and the orthodontic gear will be placed. Your child may feel some pressure during the process, but they won't need local anesthetic and shouldn't feel pain. If your child does feel a little sensitivity after placement, they should eat soft foods. Likewise, your orthodontist can recommend over-the-counter pain relievers
Contact an orthodontist for any other questions or concerns you may have about molar bands for your child.