Moran Orthodontics
Kirk I. Moran DMD, MS

Ortho Dictionary

Parts of Braces | Orthodontic Procedures

Parts of Braces

Appliance

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

Archwire

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.

Band

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.

Bond

The seal created by orthodontic cement that holds your appliances in place.

Bracket

A metal or ceramic brace 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 two neighboring teeth.

Elastic (Rubber Band)

A small rubber band that is hooked between different points on your braces to provide pressure to move your teeth to their new position.

Elastic Tie

The 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 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 tube that is attached on the side of your back bands. The inner bow of your headgear fits into it.

Hook

An arm or a hook on your braces or on your archwire 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 and surrounds your teeth to hold them in place. Some retainers are removable and others are bonded to the tongue-side of your front 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 can be used to cover your braces to prevent them from irritating your cheeks and 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

The process of making a model of your teeth 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.

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