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Braces 101

Getting to know the Lingo

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 or accomplish select tasks.

Bond: The seal created by orthodontic cement that holds your appliances to your tooth.

Bracket: A metal or ceramic part cemented (“bonded”) to your tooth that holds your archwire in place.

Clear Aligners: Clear, removable trays that fit on the upper and lower teeth to move teeth and correct bites OR to hold teeth in place as retainers.

Coil Spring: A spring that fits on 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 correct your bite.

Alastic 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 jaw guiding  your teeth into proper position. The force is applied by neck strap or head strap. The straps have a safety release that disconnect if the facebow is pulled or snagged.

Headgear Tube: A round, hollow attachment on your back bands. The inner bow of your headgear or similar appliance fits into the tubes.

Hook: A welded or removable arm to which elastics are attached.

Ligature: A thin wire that holds your archwire into your bracket.

Malocclusion: Another word for  “bad bite.” Malocclusion is a problem with the way the upper and lower teeth fit together when you bite or chew.

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

Overbite: The amount the upper front teeth overlap the lower front teeth.

Underbite: The amount the lower front teeth protrude out in front of the upper front teeth.

Overjet: The amount the upper front teeth protrude out in front of the lower front teeth.

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 and others are bonded to the tongue-side of several teeth.

Separator (or Spacer): A small rubber ring that creates space between your teeth to make space before the bands are attached.

Tie Wire: A fine wire that is twisted around your bracket to hold the archwire in place.

Underbite: The amount the lower front teeth protrude out in front of the upper front teeth.

Wax: Wax is used to stop your braces from irritating your lips.