What Is an Orthodontic Band in Dental Care?

Bands are used in orthodontics to anchor an appliance to the teeth or secure an archwire to the molars. Used on the molars and in some cases the premolars, bands are made from stainless steel and are very similar to a ring. Bands come in different sizes and are custom fit to the tooth using the appropriate dental instruments. They are temporally cemented on your teeth with cement designed specifically for the use with bands.

Bands have attachments similar to a hook to allow for the use of removable elastics or other attachments. The archwire slides into a small sleeve on the cheek side of the band. This allows for the movement or stabilization of the molars.

Loose Orthodontic Bands 

It is very common to have an orthodontic band become loose from time to time, so learning what to do when your orthodontic bands come loose is very important. 

Orthodontic bands are secured to the tooth temporarily, with a cement designed for orthodontic bands. Because the cement is designed to be easily removed, orthodontic bands can become loose fairly easily. Situations that cause an orthodontic band to become loose include:

  • Biting down on hard foods or candy
  • Eating sticky candy, such as caramel or toffee
  • A failed bond between the tooth and the band
  • Habits such as chewing ice or chewing on pens or pencils
  • A change in bite, due to the constant movement of the teeth and how they bite together

What You Should Do When Your Orthodontic Band Is Loose

When you have an loose orthodontic band, the first thing that you should do is call your orthodontist. A loose band can be a dangerous situation. Unlike a loose orthodontic bracket that stays attached to the wire when it becomes loose, a loose orthodontic band can lift off the tooth very easily because it is not generally attached to the archwire with an elastic or wire ligature. If the band comes off the tooth, you could swallow it or choke on it. Thus, the loose band becomes a serious chocking hazard. 

If an orthodontist is unable to see you shortly after your orthodontic band becomes loose, here is what you can do in the mean time:

  • Try to lift the loose band off your tooth with your fingers, or use a clean pair of tweezers.
  • Ask someone close to you to remove the band for you by using the handle end of a toothbrush or a clean pair of tweezers to lift the band away from the tooth. Once you remove the orthodontic band, you should place it into a small plastic bag and bring it with you to your next dental appointment.
  • If your gum becomes irritated because the archwire that was anchored to the orthodontic band is now rubbing against it, take a clean pair of toenail clippers and cut the wire as close as you can to the bracket on the tooth next to the molar that the orthodontic band was removed from. Place a small amount of orthodontic wax on any sharp ends.

Also Known As:


Anchor Band

Ortho Band