Orthodontic Dictionary2019-07-14T13:13:33+00:00

Parts of Braces

Appliance  Anything your orthodontist attaches to your teeth which moves your teeth or changes the shape of your jaw.

Archwire  The metal wire that acts as a track to guide your teeth along as they move. It is changed periodically throughout treatment as your teeth move to their new positions.

Band  A metal ring that is cemented to your tooth, going completely around it. Bands provide a way to attach brackets to your teeth.

Bond  The seal created by orthodontic cement that holds your appliances in place.

Bracket  A metal or ceramic part cemented (“bonded”) to your tooth that holds your archwire in place.

Coil Spring  A spring that fits between your brackets and over your archwire to open space between your teeth.

Elastic (Rubber Band)  A small rubber band that is hooked between different points on your appliance to provide pressure to move your teeth to their new position.

Elastic Tie  The tiny rubber band that fits around your bracket to hold the archwire in place. They come in a variety of colors.

Headgear  Headgear uses an external wire apparatus known as a facebow to gently guide the growth of your face and jaw by moving your teeth into proper position. The force is applied to the facebow by a spring-loaded neck strap or head strap. The straps have a safety release that disconnects if the facebow is pulled or snagged.

Headgear Tube  A round, hollow attachment on your back bands. The inner bow of your headgear fits into it.

Hook  A welded or removable arm to which elastics are attached.

Ligature  A thin wire that holds your archwire into your bracket.

Lip Bumper  A lip bumper is an archwire attached to a molded piece of plastic. The lip bumper holds back the molars on your lower jaw to provide more space for your other teeth.

Mouthguard  A device that protects your mouth from injury when you participate in sports or rigorous activities.

Palatal Expander  A device that makes your upper jaw wider.

Retainer  An appliance that is worn after your braces are removed, the retainer attaches to your upper and/or lower teeth to hold them in place. Some retainers are removable, while others are bonded to the tongue-side of several teeth.

Separator or Spacer  A small rubber ring that creates space between your teeth before the bands are attached.

Tie Wire  A fine wire that is twisted around your bracket to hold the archwire in place.

Wax  Wax is used to stop your braces from irritating your lips.

Orthodontic Procedures

Banding  The process of fitting and cementing orthodontic bands to your teeth.

Bonding  The process of attaching brackets to your teeth using special orthodontic cement.

Cephalometric X-ray  An x-ray of your head which shows the relative positions and growth of the face, jaws, and teeth.

Consultation  A meeting with your orthodontist to discuss a treatment plan.

Debanding  The process of removing cemented orthodontic bands from your teeth.

Debonding  The process of removing cemented orthodontic brackets from your teeth.

Impressions  The process of making a model of your teeth by biting into a soft material that hardens into a mold of your teeth. Your orthodontist will use these impressions to prepare your treatment plan.

Invisalign®  An alternative to traditional braces, Invisalign straightens your teeth with a series of clear custom-molded aligners. Invisalign can correct some, but not all, orthodontic problems.

Ligation  The process of attaching an archwire to the brackets on your teeth.

Panoramic X-ray An x-ray that rotates around your head to take pictures of your teeth, jaw, and other facial areas.


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