Ortho Dictionary

Choose a 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 that goes 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 a new position.
  • Elastic Tie– The tiny 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 guide the growth of your face and jaw gently by moving your teeth into the 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, 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.

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 that 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 model of your mouth made 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.