• Orthodontic Dictionary

  • 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 and goes completely around your tooth. 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 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 and 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.

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    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.
    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.
    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.