Dental: Wearing Separators

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The purpose of wearing separators is to make room for the braces that will be attached to your teeth on your next visit. Small elastic or metal spacers are placed between the teeth to create a space (Picture 1). Your teeth will feel very "tight" and sore for the first few days. This feeling should go away in a short while. Please do not be concerned if your bite is a little different. This is a natural feeling while the separators are in place.

Here are some things to do and not do while you are wearing separators:

DOWearing Separators

  • Do eat healthful foods.
  • Do brush your teeth back and forth. (The separators could be pulled out by brushing up and down.)
  • Do ask your dentist to recommend a pain reliever to use if necessary.
  • Do keep your next scheduled appointment with your dentist.


  • Do not play with or pick at the separators.
  • Do not eat any sticky or chewy foods (such as gum, taffy and caramels).
  • Do not be concerned if some of the separators fall out. If you have been careful to brush back and forth and have avoided sticky foods and the separators fall out anyway, it just means the space has been made. You do not need to have them replaced.

NOTE: If the separators come out 4 days or more before your appointment, you will need to come in and have them replaced. If you have any questions about the separators, be sure to ask your dentist or dental assistant. 


Dental: Wearing Separators PDF

HH-II-88 1/85, Reviewed 8/17 Copyright 1985, Nationwide Children’s Hospital