Parts of Braces
Appliance: Anything your orthodontist attaches to your teeth throughout treatment to help move the teeth or correct your bite.
Archwire: The metal wire that connects the brackets on your teeth and guides the tooth movements. The wire is changed an average of three to four times throughout treatment to apply different pressures to them.
Band: A metal ring that wraps completely around your tooth. They are more commonly used with larger appliances such as expanders.
Bond: The seal that is created by orthodontic glue that holds an appliance in place.
Bracket: The metal or ceramic part of your braces that is bonded to the front of your tooth. These are connected by the archwire and allow the wire to put pressure on the tooth.
Coil Spring: A spring that is placed around the archwire and between your brackets to open or hold space between teeth.
Elastic (Rubber Band): A small rubber band that is placed over hooks of your upper and lower braces to help shift and coordinate your bite. Commonly used to correct overbites.
Elastic Tie: The very small rubber bands that wrap over your brackets to secure the archwire in place. The come in many colors and are usually changed monthly.
Hook: An arm on the brackets to which elastics are attached.
Ligature: A thin wire that holds the archwire in place on the brackets, much like the elastic ties in purpose.
Mouthguard: A device that protects your teeth and lips from injury when you participate in contact sports or other high risk activities.
Rapid Palatal Expander (RPE): A device that gradually spreads your upper jaw to allow it to grow more and match the lower jaw better.
Retainer: An appliance that is made after the braces are removed to keep the teeth from moving. A separate retainer is required for the upper and lower teeth. There are both removable retainers and retainers that are bonded to the tongue-side of the teeth. Different treatments require different types of retainers after completion.
Separators or Spacers: A small rubber ring that creates space between two teeth. They are typically placed for about a week prior to fitting or bonding bands.
Wax: Is used to keep abrupt edges or corners from irritating the lips or cheeks.
Banding: The process of fitting and gluing orthodontic bands to your teeth.
Bonding: The process of gluing brackets to your teeth using a special tooth-colored orthodontic glue.
Cephalometric X-ray: An x-ray of your skull which allows the orthodontist to monitor growth and measure different lengths and angles of the teeth, face, and jaws.
Consultation: A new patient examination by the orthodontist to determine treatment needs and options.
Debanding: The process of removing glued orthodontic bands.
Debonding: The process of removing bonded orthodontic brackets.
Impression: A mold taken of either your upper dentition or lower dentition by imprinting a soft material that hardens. These are used for diagnostic purposes as well as to make certain appliances and retainers.
Invisalign®: A series of clear aligners that are worn over your teeth to straighten them in place of traditional braces.
Panoramic X-ray: An x-ray of the mouth that rotates around your head in order to capture a picture of your teeth and jaws. This is the best x-ray to see all the teeth at once, including wisdom teeth, and how they all relate to one another.