Everything About Spacers (Orthodontic Separators) for Braces

What are Orthodontic Spacers for Braces?

Orthodontic spacers are also referred to as separators, and the orthodontist uses them during the initial stages of braces treatment. The aim of wearing orthodontic spacers is to create space in your back molars. It is in your back molars that the dentist places the metal bands to link the archwire. If the orthodontist recommends using spacers, do not worry since, after one or two weeks, you will not be using them. Let’s find out how to take spacers out of your teeth, how orthodontics spacers work, the types, and how to clean and maintain them.

How Do Orthodontics Spacers Work

You get spacers for teeth one week before getting your braces. The orthodontist will use a small dental floss or tool to stretch each spacer before inserting them. You will then open your mouth wide so they can wiggle every orthodontic spacer between your molars. This process triggers a pinching sensation and some pressure since the spacer has to get down towards the gumline.

How to Take Spacers out of Your Teeth

The orthodontist takes a very short time to remove the spacers for braces. They pop the spacers out using a small appliance. If they have already attained their goal of creating more space, they come out easily.

Types of Spacers for Braces

Here are the most popular types of spacers that you can use for your braces.

Metal Spacers

This refers to a small metallic ring that the orthodontist inserts between your back molars. They are mainly used on people who need to wear spacers for braces for around six or more weeks.

Pros of Metal Spacers

• You can use them for long-term or short-term cases
• Do not fall out after achieving the desired outcome
• Very convenient since you do not need to visit the orthodontist

Cons of Metal Spacers

• After their insertion, the gums feel irritated
• Causes pain and discomfort

Rubber Spacers

These refer to small rubber loops that slide between the back molars. They are blue, and they serve for a short time (around two to three weeks).

Pros of Rubber Spacers

• Perfect for short-term cases

Cons of Rubber Spacers

• It falls out after space gets created
• Less convenient since you will need to visit the orthodontist
• Causes pain, discomfort, and gum irritation

What Do Spacers for Braces Do to Your Teeth

If you are wondering what do spacers for braces do, worry no more. An orthodontic spacer helps in creating space if your molars attach closely. If you need an orthodontic band around your molars, you will need a wider space.

Who Need Spacers for Braces

If your teeth have natural spaces that can fit the metal bands, you will not require the orthodontic spacer. However, most people’s teeth are close together, and they will require spacers for braces if their treatment needs metal bands. On the other hand, if the orthodontist chooses not to use metal bands, you will not require the spacers for braces. Your case will determine whether you require the orthodontic spacer or dental spacer for child or not. For example, when getting the traditional braces, the orthodontist will cement the brackets to your teeth’ surface and then connect them using wires. These wires get anchored to the metal bands on your back molars. The molars are close together, so they use spacers for braces to create some space where they can install the metal bands.

Pain and Discomfort

The orthodontist uses spacers for braces to create space between the back molars to attach parts of the braces appliance. You are likely to experience pressure during the orthodontic spacer’s insertion, which will result in pain or discomfort. This process feels uncomfortable; however, the pain is not severe.

Your teeth or mouth sensitivity will deter the amount of pain you feel, ranging from mild to moderate to severe. People with closely tightened teeth are likely to experience more discomfort. You may compare the discomfort with having pieces of food stuck between your teeth.

As the teeth get used to spacers for braces, the discomfort will gradually fade away. If they are hurting, the pain should stop after two or three days; however, you might continue to feel the pressure exerted by the metal separators braces until you remove them.

If the pain persists or gets more severe, consult your doctor on how to relieve pain from spacers in teeth. You may take a prescribed OTC pain killer such as Advil or ibuprofen. Taking a soothing beverage such as a smoothie might also help in alleviating the pain and discomfort.

Other Techniques of Relieving Pain

Here are some other techniques if you are still wondering how to relieve pain from spacers in teeth.
• Orthodontic wax: This is a wax given to you by the orthodontist, and you can place it over the spacers that are bringing discomfort.
• Eat soft foods: As the mouth adjusts to metal separators braces, eating soft foods will help in pain alleviation. Mac, cheese, smoothies, and soups cannot trigger pain and discomfort since you do not use a lot of pressure when chewing them.
• Oral analgesic: You can use numbing analgesic such as Anbesol or Orajel for orthodontic spacers pain relief. To apply this gel, use a cotton swab.
• Suck on a cool thing: Ice treats such as ice cream and popsicles help in calming pain. You can also put an ice pack on your gum line for orthodontic spacers pain relief.
• Use warm salty water to rinse the mouth: Salty water may serve as an antiseptic. It helps in orthodontic spacers pain relief.

Do Orthodontic Spacer Hurt More Than Braces?

People experience different levels of pain, either with the spacers or the braces. For some people, spacers for braces are extremely painful, while for others, they are just irritating. It is worth noting that individuals who mostly complain of pain are those wearing braces and those who got spacers before the braces. However, you do not have to fear since the pain dissipates with time. For instance, with the spacers for braces, the pain will disappear within two days. However, it is difficult to forget that there are spacers in your mouth since you still feel the sensation in your back molars.

What to Eat When You Have Spacers in Your Teeth

After getting the orthodontic spacers, you should take good care of them to ensure that they do not loosen up. Gummy or sticky foods may stick on your spacers, pulling them out. In case your teeth feel uncomfortable because of spacers, you may consider eating soft foods. Because it is hard to floss the teeth with spacers, you ought to avoid sticky foods, resulting in dental problems such as tooth decay.
Here is what to eat when you have spacers in your teeth.
• Oatmeal
• Yogurt
• Mashed potatoes
• Applesauce
• Protein shakes
• Smoothies
• Steamed veggies
• Soup
• Minced meat
Here are the foods to avoid.
• Gummy or sticky candy
• Hard candy such as toffee
• Pretzels, nuts, and other crunchy and hard foods
• Popcorn or foods that can stick to your teeth
• Chewing ice or gum

How to Clean, Care, and Maintain Spacers for Braces

Even though you will put on your spacers for just a few days, you should take good care of them and make sure they do not fall out. Maintain oral health by flossing and brushing your teeth but avoid brushing and flossing the teeth with spacers. Also, be careful with the foods you consume to ensure the orthodontic spacer does not get pulled out. Also, ensure that you avoid chewing gum. In case the spacers dislodge between one and four days before you visit your orthodontist, it could be a sign that they have already achieved their goal of creating space. In case they dislodge over four days before your appointment date, you will need to visit your orthodontist so they can put them back.

How to Floss and Brush the Teeth with Orthodontic Spacer

Are you wondering how to floss or brush your teeth yet you have spacers in the mouth? Start with rinsing your mouth with water. Then brush the surfaces of your teeth gently, taking necessary care with the back molars. Rinse your mouth again.
Lastly, floss the teeth using one caveat and do not floss the parts with spacers. This is to avoid dislodging them.

What Do I do if Spacers for Braces Dislodge and Fall Out

You will not have separators or orthodontic spacers for teeth for a long time. If things work out, you will have them for one or two weeks before the orthodontist removes them or inserts the metal bands in your back teeth. It is important to notify your orthodontist immediately if the spacers fall out so they can guide you on the next step. In case space has been created, they will not insert others.

Cost of Spacers for Braces

Spacers are the initial step of having braces, so their prices are included in your braces cost. The cost of a full braces treatment ranges from $5000 to $7000.
There are various types of payment options available. If you have dental insurance, you may consult with your doctor to know if it covers orthodontic treatments. If it does, what percentage of the total cost does it cover? You can also access funds from your dental health savings account or flexible spending account. Most orthodontists offer payment plans that assist in spreading out the charges.

Can Rubber Bands Take the Place of Spacers

The orthodontic spacer is a medical device that you should use while under the supervision of an orthodontic. Rubber separators may appear like elastic bands, but regular rubber bands cannot take the place of spacers. Using rubber bands can damage your gums and teeth or cause gum infection.


The first step towards straightened teeth is getting spacers for braces. Spacers are not used for a long time, and their goal is to create space for bands. In case your spacers get dislodged, do not hesitate to contact your orthodontist. At victory Plaza in North Hollywood, we offer quality dental services. If you want to have a healthy and straightened smile, we are just a call away. We will provide safe and comfortable spacer insertion before installing your braces. If you have any queries regarding dental spacer for child, we are ready to help you. Schedule a consultation with us today if you need any dental service.