2Q1A. Placing Orthodontic Bands

Separators and band placement

Why do I need separators?

Before a band is placed around a tooth, space must be created between the tooth itself and the teeth adjacent to it. Placement of elastomeric separators will allow the adjacent teeth to flex away from the tooth that need to be banded.


Placements of separators are often uncomfortable for the patient, especially during the first 24 hours. Discomfort will usually resolve within two days.

Patients often describe the placement of separator as feeling like having a large piece of food stuck between their teeth. If needed, patient can take over the counter (OTC) pain medication such as Ibuprophen or Acetaminophen as needed to relieve discomfort.


Bands are often placed on bicuspids and molars. There are several reasons why band may be placed:

  • Construction of palatal orthodontic device (RPE, Nance Appliance, Quad helix, W arch, fixed distalizing appliance)
  • To allow use of auxiliary orthodontic/orthopedic devices (headgear, lip bumper, intrusion arch, extrusion arch)
  • To prevent loss of bracket in the region of mouth where most rigorous mastication occur.


Placement of band may also be slightly uncomfortable to the patient depending on whether adequate separation has been achieved with the separator. Again patient may take OTC pain relief medications to help relieve the discomfort. Discomfort will usually resolve within 1 to 2 days.