An orthodontic separator is a small object positioned in between two teeth, to create a slight, temporary gap between them. This helps in adapting the bands/ attachments more precisely around the tooth.
Most commonly, elastomeric (rubber) separators are used. These look like tiny rubber bands. Other shapes are also available. There is another kind, called the Kesling separator, which is made of metal. Also, rubber separators can be large or small in size.
Most commonly, in the molar region, since this is tooth segment where bands are adapted.
With the help of a special holder, called a ‘Separator holder’. It is stretched with the holder and pressed in between the teeth, till it reaches just below their contact point.
This could mean that the contact between the teeth is really tight. In such a situation, a customized separator made of wire can be given.
It causes discomfort as it is applying a force to separate your teeth by about 0.2mm. Most often, it is placed on one side of the mouth, while the other side can be used for chewing.
It is strongly recommended that you avoid chewing hard foods on the side where the separator I present. Since, doing so can dislodge the separator.
About 3 - 4 days is sufficient in most cases. If enough separation is not achieved, the period can be increased to one week. Rarely, does it go beyond that.
If you feel it has come out, do not attempt to place it back on your own. It has to be replaced. Visit your orthodontist at the earliest.
It is unlikely for you to swallow it without knowing that it has come out. But if it happens, it is not an emergency situation.
A separator made of another material like metal can be given. This can be pre-formed or customized. If it needs to be made, then appointment time may increase by a few more minutes.
Last updated on 10 December, 2018.