The 2024 Guide to Molar Bands – Pain, Relief, Tips, and FAQs

molar band pain

You may have heard of molar bands if you’re considering orthodontic treatment, such as braces. To secure braces or other orthodontic appliances, these metal rings are put around the back molars. Molar bands may be an effective component of your treatment plan, but they also cause discomfort or pain, particularly in the first few days following placement.

In this guide, we’ll provide you with tips and advice on how to deal with molar band pain, as well as address some often-asked questions about molar bands and orthodontic treatment. This guide will explain how molar bands function and how to deal with any discomfort regardless of whether you are a new patient or have been undergoing treatment for a while.

Understanding Molar Bands: Molar band vs buccal tube

Molar bands are metal rings that are placed around the teeth, specifically the back molars, to anchor braces or other orthodontic appliances. They are crucial to the success of orthodontic treatment because they act as an anchor point for the orthodontic wire, which uses force to move the teeth into the proper position.

Molar bands are often composed of titanium or stainless steel and are custom-fitted to each patient’s teeth. They are cemented in place and can only be removed by an orthodontist.

Molar bands offer a more reliable anchor point for orthodontic appliances than buccal tubes, which are tiny metal brackets affixed directly to the teeth. Buccal tubes are frequently used on the upper molars and are less obvious than molar bands, however, they may not provide as much anchorage as molar bands.

buccal tube

When a stronger anchorage is required, such as when a deep bite or the necessity to move teeth farther back in the mouth, molar bands are frequently utilized instead of buccal tubes. Additionally, they can be utilized with buccal tubes to add more anchoring.

Pain Relief Tips

Here are some useful tips to deal with molar band pain:

  • Avoid hard, sticky, and crunchy foods. In the first days after placing the molar bands, avoid hard and crunchy foods like hard candy, ice, popcorn, etc. In other words, avoiding these foods can help prevent damage to your dental braces. Instead, try to use soft foods like bread, mashed potatoes, oatmeal, Jell-O, etc.
  • Apply topical oral medication. The other useful tip to deal with molar band pain is to apply a topical oral medication directly to sore gums and teeth. Make sure to follow the instruction on the packaging of the medication when you’re using it.
  • Take over-the-counter medication. To relieve pain and reduce inflammation, you can use painkillers like nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) like ibuprofen. Please note that you should use these drugs as prescribed by your orthodontist.
  • Apply soft wax to dental bands. The best course of action when molar bands are digging into gums and hurting the tongue, apply soft wax to dental bands to ease discomfort from rubbing against your gum or cheeks.
  • Use a soft or extra-soft bristle toothbrush. Certainly, the best way to go easy on sensitive gums is to use a soft or extra-soft bristle toothbrush.
  • Use warm saltwater rinses. To alleviate discomfort and reduce inflammation caused by molar bands, rinse your mouth with warm saltwater. To prepare the rinse, mix a teaspoon of salt in a cup of warm water and swish the solution around in your mouth for 30 seconds before spitting it out.

molar band pain-pain relief

Frequently asked questions

 Do molar bands hurt the tongue?

Yes, the molar bands can hurt the tongue if not properly adjusted. The best course of action, when molar bands hurt the tongue, is to use soft wax to cover their sharp edges. These waxes are easily accessible at pharmacies or through the orthodontist. If the pain is going on, ask your orthodontist to adjust it properly.

Do molar bands hurt more than spacers?

In the world of orthodontics, molar bands and spacers have different functions and different levels of discomfort.

Spacers create space between teeth using small rubber rings and may cause temporary discomfort for the first few days. Molar bands, which are metal rings used as anchor points for orthodontic appliances, can also cause discomfort if not properly fitted or adjusted

Please keep in mind that spacers will be removed after a few days, so any discomfort they cause is temporary, unlike molar bands, which are typically worn for longer periods of time. If molar bands aren’t properly adjusted, they can cause long-run discomfort.

The key to controlling molar band pain and maintaining correct treatment progression is open communication with your orthodontist.

What happens if my molar band is loose?

Contact your orthodontist as soon as possible if your molar band becomes loose. A loose molar band can be uncomfortable and may reduce how well your orthodontic treatment works. Molar band pain can be an unpleasing issue, and a loose band can exacerbate this discomfort.

To keep your treatment on track and manage discomfort, it’s critical to address any problems with your orthodontist promptly.

Can I have braces without using molar bands?

Yes, but it depends on the individual’s orthodontic needs. Even when teeth are missing or extracted, orthodontic treatment may still proceed without them.

However, molar bands are frequently utilized as anchor points for orthodontic treatment, and if they weren’t, other teeth may have to bear more pressure, leading to more discomfort.

Overall, your orthodontist is the only one who can determine the best course of treatment based on your specific needs.


Molar bands can cause discomfort. Pain relief tips such as using orthodontic wax, warm saltwater rinses, and over-the-counter medication can help alleviate molar band pain.

Always remember, we are here at York Orthodontics to answer all your concerns and questions. So, if your molar bands become loose or anything happens to your braces, keep us posted to manage the complications and ensure that your treatment stays on track