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What Are Orthodontic Separators & Why Do I Need Them?

Orthodontic separators are little elastic bands that are placed in between the back teeth so that orthodontists can place an orthodontic band (like a ring on a finger) on a tooth or teeth the following 1-2 weeks.

How Can I Help Separators Work?

The separator can feel like a piece of floss or food is left in between the teeth but it’s important to let them do their thing.

  • Do not pick on the separator with your fingers or floss where the separator is placed.
  • Do not eat sticky foods like gum or sticky candy. Check our list of foods to avoid for more details.
  • Continue your normal diet, except sticky foods.
  • Biting on the separator is normal and can feel “bouncy.”
  • Regular brushing is recommended where the separator is placed.
  • Do not floss the separators – this may cause them to come out prematurely


What Should I Do If My Orthodontic Separator Falls Out? 

It’s okay if your separators feel loose or mobile, as long as they stay in between your teeth. If a separator should fall out soon after it is placed, please call the office to have it replaced.

If a separator falls out a day or two before your next appointment, don’t worry.  This means that there is likely enough space between the teeth, so the separator slipped out.

 Will Separators Be Painful?

As the teeth start moving, you can expect some soreness as well as possible headaches.  Dr. Mike recommends over-the-counter pain relievers such as ibuprofen (preferred choice) or acetaminophen. Be sure to follow the recommended dosages to ease any discomfort, as needed.