Dr. Sean M. Rooney, Children and Adult Orthodontics

Ortho Dictionary

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» Parts of Braces
» Orthodontic Procedures

Parts of Braces

Ortho DictionaryAppliance - 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 part 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 your teeth.

Elastic (Rubber Band) - A small rubber band that is hooked between different points on your appliance 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 attachment on your back bands. The inner bow of your headgear fits into it.

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

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

Lip Bumper - A lip bumper is an archwire attached to a molded piece of plastic. The lip bumper holds back the molars on your lower jaw to provide more space for your other teeth.

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 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 before the bands are attached.

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

Wax - Wax is used to stop your braces from irritating your 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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