Orthodontic Dictionary

Parts of Braces

Archwire: Metal wire that is placed along the brackets to help guide the teeth as they move. The archwire may be changed periodically during treatment.

Band: A metal ring that goes completely around a tooth with a bracket or tube attached to it.

Bracket: The metal or ceramic square piece adhered directly to each tooth.

Color Tie: A small rubber band that fits around a bracket to hold the archwire in place. There are numerous colors and they can be changed throughout the course of treatmemt.

Elastics/rubber bands: The elastics are hooked between different points in your mouth to provide pressure to move your teeth and/or jaws.

Headgear: An external wire used to guide the growth of the face and jaw by moving the teeth into the correct position. The wire works in conjunction with a spring-loaded neck or head strap.

Hook/pin: Attached to a bracket that holds the elastics in place.

Seperator/spacer: Rubber ring placed between the teeth to create space prior to placement of a band.

Other Appliances:

Invisalign: An alternative to braces that uses a series of removable clear trays that are custom made for each patient.

Mouthguard: Removable appliance used to protect the mouth from injury during athletic activities.

Palatal expander: A fixed or removable appliance used to increase the width of the jaw.

Removable appliance: An appliance used to upright and align the teeth into a more ideal position.

Retainer: Appliances worn following the removal of the braces to maintain the correction.

Twin Block: Removable appliances used to reposition the lower jaw into a more harmonious relationship with the upper jaw which will bring about skeletal development.

Miscellaneous Terms:

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

Impressions: A model of the teeth made by inserting a tray with soft material that hardens in just a couple minutes.

Panoramic Radiograph: An x-ray taken on a machine that rotates around the head producing a picture of the facial area including the teeth and jaw.

Scan: An impression of the teeth using a special wand that takes an image of the teeth to be sent to a lab to produce models or appliances.

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