What are separators?
Your back teeth are very close together. We need to create a slight space between your back teeth so the molar band can slide between them easily during your band fitting appointment. By placing separators between your back teeth, we can comfortably fit your molar bands at your next appointment.
The separators may feel funny at first, like food is stuck between your teeth. You may even experience some tenderness or sensitivity in the area where the separators are. This is an indication that the separators are working and doing their job. However, this tenderness will only last a few days. Any discomfort or soreness can be relieved with whatever medication you would take for a headache.
The separators need to be in place for a few days to do their job. After a few days, they may create enough room between your back teeth so that they fall out on their own. This is perfectly ok and is not an emergency; it simply means there is enough room now. Do not take the separators out on your own though, this will make your next big appointment less comfortable since there will not be enough room between your molars.
You should brush your teeth very well with the separators in. They will not fall out even with vigorous tooth-brushing.
You may eat normally with the separators in, but we do recommend avoiding chewing gum and very sticky foods, like chewey/sticky candy (caramel, taffy, tootsie rolls, gummy bears, Snickers bars, and any other sticky candy), as they may make your separators fall out prematurely. Also, do not floss your teeth in the area where the separators are and do not pick at them with your fingers or anything else, like toothpicks, this too will make them fall out prematurely.
You will need to keep the separators in place only long enough to create ample space for your molar bands. Under most conditions, you need them no longer than for 1–2 weeks.
At your next appointment, we will fit bands on your molars and be on our way to constructing your orthodontic appliance(s).
Please refer to our “Separators” handout given at the office.