Separators (spacers)

February 2, 2020

Separators (or spacers) are small donut-shaped rubber rings or wire springs that fit between your teeth. They are used to create small spaces to allow for the fitting of orthodontic appliances or bands. Separators need to remain between the teeth until your next appointment (usually 1-2 weeks). To help keep them in place:

  • Avoid sticky or chewy foods such as candy and gum that could stick to separators and pull them out.
  • Avoid using floss or toothpicks in the area where the separators have been placed. Thoroughly brush and floss all other areas.

If you are uncomfortable, consider taking an over-the-counter pain reliever (such as Tylenol® or Advil®) and rinsing your mouth with warm salt water.

Call us at (503) 579-2495 if a separator falls out so we can determine if it needs to be replaced.

Separators may:

  • Make you feel like you have food stuck between your teeth and you can’t get it out. This is annoying, but please do not play with the separators or they may fall out.
  • Make your teeth feel sore. Usually this discomfort is mild and can last anywhere from one to four days. Soreness is an indication that the separators are doing their job. Remember, everyone is different, and you may find that they don’t hurt at all.
  • Feel like you’re biting on them. This is normal as the separators may get in the way of your bite.
  • Get pulled out or fall out. Remember to check your separators every night and count to be sure they’re all there. If separators fall out, please give us a call so we can determine if they need to be replaced. If the separators fall out the day of or day before your next appointment, we will not need to replace them until we see you, but please call us to be safe, since a lost separator may make it impossible to fit a band or appliance around your tooth.


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