Elastics are wires, springs, or rubber bands attached to braces, usually between the upper and lower or front and back teeth. The elastics apply tension and cause teeth to move. The bands are placed specifically to help teeth move in a planned direction and can reduce your orthodontic treatment time. Elastics are individually fitted to each patient and usually must be worn 24 hours a day to be effective. If you must remove the bands to eat, be sure to replace them as soon as possible. Bands must also be replaced one or two times a day when they lose their elasticity. As the elastic bands cause your teeth to move, they may cause soreness that usually goes away within a few days of continuous use. Never switch sizes of elastics or wear more than instructed by your orthodontist. This could cause your teeth to move the wrong way and slow down your orthodontic progress. Contact an orthodontist for more information on how elastics work with your braces to straighten your teeth.