Braces Glossary

DICTIONARY: BRACES GLOSSARY

Parts of Braces

Appliance:

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

Archwire:

The metal wire that acts as a track to guide your teeth as they move. It is changed periodically throughout treatment as your teeth move to 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 clear 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 a new position. Elastics vary in size and strength. They are used to correct overjets and overbites.

Elastic Tie:

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

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. 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.