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Orthodontic Separator Instructions


This page offers dental instructions and information about the orthodontic separator. Please read them carefully and, as always, reach out to your orthodontist if you have questions.

What Are Orthodontic Separators & Why Do I Need Them?

Orthodontic separators are elastic (usually blue or gray) separators or spacers that are placed in between the back teeth so that orthodontists can more easily place an orthodontic band (like a ring on a finger) on a tooth or teeth the following week. Orthodontists often use orthodontic separators for patients to prepare their teeth for upcoming treatment.

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 the list of foods to avoid when wearing braces 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.

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, please call your orthodontist to have it replaced. It must be in place at least a day or two before placing your braces.

Will Separators Be Painful?

As the teeth start moving, you can expect some soreness as well as possible headaches. Use 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.

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