Ortho Dictionary

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» Parts of Braces
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Parts of Braces


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


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.


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 and are only used on the side or back teeth.


The seal created by tooth colored orthodontic adhesive that holds your braces in place.


A metal or ceramic brace 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 brackets to provide pressure to move your teeth to their new position.

Elastic Tie:

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


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.


A welded or removable arm to which elastics are attached.


An alginate impression is used in dentistry to retrieve an exact replica of the patient’s teeth, gingiva, and surrounding tissues in the mouth.


A thin wire that holds your archwire into your bracket.

Lip Bumper:

A lip bumper is an archwire coated with a molded piece of plastic. The lip bumper holds back the molars on your lower jaw to provide more space for your other teeth.


A device that protects your mouth from injury when you participate in sports or rigorous activities.

Palatal Expander:

A device that makes the upper jaw wider.


An appliance that is worn after your braces are removed, the retainer fits over 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 is used to stop your braces from irritating your lips or cheeks.

Orthodontic Procedures


The process of fitting and cementing orthodontic bands to your teeth.


The process of attaching brackets to your teeth using special tooth colored orthodontic adhesive.

Cephalometric X-ray:

An x-ray of your head that shows the relative positions and growth of the face, jaws, and teeth.


A meeting with your orthodontist to discuss the treatment plan. Our office offers this appointment at no charge.


The process of removing cemented orthodontic bands from your teeth.


The process of removing cemented orthodontic brackets from your teeth.


The process of making a model of your teeth by placing a soft material that hardens into a mold of your teeth.


An alternative to traditional braces, Invisalign straightens your teeth with a series of clear custom-molded aligners. Invisalign can correct many orthodontic problems, but may not be appropriate for some cases.


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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