Choose a glossary:
- Parts of Braces
- Orthodontic Procedures
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
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
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
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.
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.
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.
Tad: Temporary Anchorage Device
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 or cheeks.
Banding: The process of fitting and cementing orthodontic
bands to your teeth.
Bonding: The process of attaching brackets to your teeth
using special orthodontic
CBCT: Cone Beam CT scan
Cephalometic 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.
Gingivoplasty: Laser reshaping of the gingiva in order to provide comfort with band and bracket placement.
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
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
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
of your teeth, jaw, and other facial areas.
Self Ligating (Speed) Brackets: A type of braces that do not require ligatures (rubber bands) or metal tie wires to hold the arch wire onto the bracket. Due to the added efficiency of the bracket, treatment is often completed much faster.