Parts Of Your Braces



Appliance - Anything the orthodontist attaches to your teeth to move your teeth or to change the shape of your jaw


Arch Wire - A metal wire which is attached to your brackets to move your teeth.


Band - A metal ring that is usually placed on you teeth to hold on parts of your braces


Bracket - A metal or ceramic part that is glued onto a tooth and serves as a means of fastening the arch wire.


Breakaway - A breakaway is a small plastic piece with an internal spring which is used to provide force on a headgear.


Buccal tube - A small metal part that is welded on the outside of a molar band. The buccal tube contains a slots to hold archwires, lip bumpers, headgear and other things your orthodontist uses to move your teeth.


Chain, Orthodontic Chain - A stretchable plastic chain used to hold archwires into brackets and to move teeth.


Headgear - Headgear is an apparatus designed to apply pressure to the teeth and jaw to correct the bite. Generally, the headgear consists of two metal parts which have been attached together. The inner part is shaped like a horseshoe. This part goes in your mouth and is connected to your buccal tubes. The outer part has two curves. The curves go around your face, and connect to the breakaways or high pull headgear. To properly use the product, the inner bow needs to be inserted into your buccal tubes. An elastic neck band is placed around the back of the neck while the triangular cast offs on both sides of neck band are attached to the outer bow of the headgear. Completing the apparatus is a plastic safety strap that is placed over the neck band and onto the outer bow of the headgear.


Ligating module - A small plastic piece, shaped like a donut, which is used to hold the arch wires in the brackets on your teeth.


Lip bumper - A lip bumper is used to push the molars on your lower jaw back to create more space for other teeth. The lip bumper consists of an arch wire which is attached to a molded piece of plastic. You mount the arch wire in the buccal tubes on your lower jaw, and plastic piece rests against your lips. When you eat or talk, you push the plastic piece back which pushes on your molars. That pushes your molars back.


Mouthguard - A device that is used to protect your mouth from injury when you are participating in sports. The use of a mouthguard is especially important for orthodontic patients, to prevent injuries.


Neck pad - A neckpad is a cloth covered cushion which you wear around your neck when you put on your headgear. Generally, the breakaways are attached to the neckpad to provide force for the headgear.


Palatal Expander - A device used to make your jaw wider


Retainer - An appliance that the orthodontist gives you to wear after the orthodontist removes your braces. A retainer may be removable or fixed (permanent) and is designed to maintain your teeth in the correct position.


Safety Strap - A plastic strap which prevents a facebow from coming loose and hurting you.


Separator - A plastic or metal part which the orthodontist uses to create space between your teeth for bands.


Wax - A clear wax used to prevent your braces from irritating your lips when your braces are first put on, or at other times.



Orthodontic Procedures


Banding - The process of cementing orthodontic bands to your teeth


Bonding - The process of attaching brackets to your teeth using a special safe glue


Cephalometric X-Rays - An x-ray of the head that shows whether your teeth are aligned properly, and whether they are growing properly.


The Consultation - A meeting with your orthodontist where he discusses your treatment plan


Debanding - The removal of cemented orthodontic bands.


Debonding - The removal of the brackets from your teeth


Extraoral photograph - Facial photos.


Intraoral photogragh - Photos of your teeth


Impressions - The first step in making a model of your teeth. You bite into a container filled with alginate, and the alginate hardens to produce a mold of your teeth.


Early Orthodontic Treatment - The objective of interceptive treatment is to make corrections that are necessary early or to make your later treatment more effective.


Ligation - A process where an archwire is attached to the brackets on your teeth.


Ligating - An adjective used to describe components used to attach archwires to brackets. For example a ligating module is a small plastic piece that goes over the brackets to hold in your archwires.


Panoramic x-ray - An x-ray taken by a machine that rotates around your head to give the orthodontist a picture of your teeth, jaws and other important information.


The Records Appointment - One of the initial appointments with your orthodontist. The orthodontist or his/her assistant takes pictures of you, x-rays, and impressions so that they can figure out what treatment needs to be done.


Wax Bite - A procedure to measure how well your teeth come together. You bite a sheet of wax and leave bitemark in the wax. The orthodontist looks at the bitemarks to see how well your teeth are aligned.