Parts of the Braces

An orthodontic appliance (braces) is a very precise, carefully engineered tooth moving machine made of sets of tiny parts. The orthodontist guides the teeth into correct position by regular, incremental adjustments. Parts of the braces:

Band: A stainless steel ring that fits around certain teeth. Each band has a bracket or tube attached to it. The bands are glued to the teeth with a special adhesive.

Bracket: The part that holds the archwire against each tooth. The archwire fits into a slot in the bracket. Brackets may be attached directly to each tooth or to a band.

Ligature: The archwire must be held tightly into each bracket slot. The fine wire or plastic tie that holds the archwire is the ligature.

Archwire: Teeth move from the pressure that is applied by the braces. That pressure comes from the archwire, which guides the direction of the movement.

Headgear: A device with two parts: a soft strap with springs or elastics attached to it and a metal part called a facebow that fits into the molar hands or onto a retainer. A headgear adds extra force to the braces to help move the teeth. It is usually used to help correct overbites.

Elastics: Small rubber bands that hook to the braces between two places in the mouth, helping the teeth move.