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Parts of Braces

Getting braces can be an exciting time, but do you know what is actually being put into your mouth. Below is a description of the parts of braces.   Generally when one begins their orthodontic treatment metal wires are inserted into brackets either made from stainless steel or ceramic material. These metal wires interact with the brackets to move your teeth to create the smile you’ve always wanted. There are also other types of methods to straighten one’s teeth, one of which is Invisalign. Invisalign straightens your teeth without wires and brackets, using a series of clear, customized, removable appliances called aligners. The following diagrams are of orthodontic appliances.  They are provided to aid you in learning the names of the parts of your braces and to better understand their design and function. The most important parts of our usual appliance are:

Bands: A ring of metal, which fit around the molars and sometimes premolars. These thin bands of stainless steel are carefully fitted around the tooth and then cemented in place using dental cement that contains fluoride. Brackets, tubes, or hooks may be welded to these bands, allowing the orthodontist to move each tooth in every direction.

Brackets: The brackets hold the archwire against each tooth. These small attachments are bonded to your teeth. The archwire fits into a slot in the bracket. A bracket can be attached to a band or bonded directly to the teeth. The brackets can be made of several types of materials including stainless steel and clear ceramic.

Arch Wires: The main wires or archwires are shaped specifically to fit around the arch into the bracket slots. Your teeth move from the pressure that is applied by the braces. These wires traditionally were made only of stainless steel.

Elastics: An elastic is a tiny rubber ring that lies the archwire into the bracket.

Hooks: Hooks are small attachments on the brackets used to attach elastics (rubber bands). These small attachments are used to apply forces to the archwire or individual teeth.

Coil Springs: The coil spring fits between brackets and over the archwire. These devices may be made of stainless steel or titanium and can be used in a “push” or “pull” fashion in order to open or close space between teeth.

braces diagram