Hi, I’m Marah, I have been a student in the Dental Assisting program for 6 months. Orthodontics is an expanded function in the dental profession. I find this specialty interesting, everyone has their own unique set of teeth. Orthodontics help straighten the teeth and adjust the patients” bite. There are many functions and tasks that can be performed to help the orthodontist. A simple and common function that orthodontic assistants perform is placing and removing elastic separators. The purpose is for space closure between teeth. This function is performed before the placement of the fixed appliance that people know as braces.
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To accomplish this task there is a small list of supplies needed, including elastic separators, floss, a ring forceps, scaler, and teeth to place the elastic separators on. Be sure there is a clear open space to work.
The first technique to place the elastic separators is the floss technique. Begin by cutting two pieces of floss about 7 inches each. Place the elastic separator in front of you. Take the first piece of floss and thread it through the elastic, fold it in half back to the other end of the floss. Next, take the second piece of floss and thread it through the elastic on the opposite side as the first piece, and again fold it in half back to the other end of the floss.
Now at this time take the folded floss pieces and wrap them around your index fingers. Stretch the elastic separator by pulling the floss pieces in opposite directions. Guide the elastic band into the mouth. Keeping tension on the elastic, seesaw the elastic between two teeth. This should be a slow controlled movement. Seesawing in a quick movement could cause the elastic to snap on the gums, causing pain to the patient. Seesaw the elastic until there is one click. Remove the floss pieces by letting go of one end and sliding it out from the elastic separator. The elastic separator is now seated between two teeth.
The second technique uses the beak of the pliers. Grasp the pliers in your palm. Place the beak of the pliers in the elastic separator and stretch the elastic. Guide the elastic in the mouth and use a seesaw motion until there is one click, and the elastic is seated between two teeth.
Finally, to remove the elastic separators, take the scaler and loop the elastic separator around the tip. Hold the scaler at the handle, take your free hand and place your thumb and index finger at the tip. Be sure to do this, if not the tip of the scaler, when pulling the elastic out, will pierce the patients gum tissue causing it to bleed. Use the pinky finger as a fulcrum. A fulcrum will help stabilize the hand in order to remove the elastic from between the teeth. Begin to seesaw and wiggle the band out from between the teeth. The elastic separators will pop up from between the teeth. Continue this until all elastic separators are removed from between the teeth.