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Parts of Braces

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

  • Archwire: A wire that is attached to brackets and acts as a track to guide your teeth as they move. Your orthodontist may change it periodically as your teeth move into 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: A small rubberband that loops around your bracket to hold your archwire in place. They come in a variety of colors and are changed at every visit.

  • 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 widens your upper jaw.

  • 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 teet

  • 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 put on your braces to keep them 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: A mold of your teeth that is made by biting into a soft material that hardens into the shape of your teeth. These molds are used by the orthodontist to determine a 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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