Get to Know Your Braces!

We all know what braces look like, but do we all know what each part is called, and what role it plays in your orthodontic journey? No? We are so excited to educate you about your braces!

Bands: A band is generally made of stainless steel, and is a ring that wraps around a molar. It is cemented to the tooth. The band anchors the rest of the braces to your mouth.

Brackets: Brackets are the fun little metal or ceramic component that is bonded to each tooth with cement. The brackets help the archwires stay in place and guide them along the teeth. What’s an archwire? We’re glad you asked!

Archwires: Archwires are thin, metal wires (generally made of either stainless steel or titanium) that guide the teeth as they shift. The archwires are adjustable and provide the force that aligns the teeth. Archwires attach to the brackets through ligatures, which brings us to our next word!

Ligatures: The ligature is a small, twisted wire or elastic band that holds the archwire to the bracket.

Elastic ties: Elastic ties are tiny rubber bands that wrap around the brackets in order to hold the archwire in place. Elastic ties come in a wide variety of colors, and allow the patient to customize their braces bling however they’d like!

Elastics/Rubber Bands: These are different from the elastic ties. Rubber bands attach to hooks on the top and bottom molar brackets or bands, helping your teeth move in the direction the orthodontist wants them to go.

Hooks: You thought we forgot about hooks, there, didn’t you? Hooks are, you guessed it, hooks attached to your braces! They are placed strategically so the rubber bands can hook onto them.

Coil Springs: Springs can be attached to the archwire, between the brackets, to close spaces or to keep spaces open for incoming teeth.

Buccal Tube: The buccal tube is attached to the band (Remember it? It wraps around your molar!) and contains slots to hold a variety of appliances in place, including the archwire and headgear.

Headgear: Headgear comes in several varieties, and serves several purposes. The term “headgear” refers to orthodontic appliances that are worn outside of the mouth, to help correct oral issues that can’t be corrected with braces alone.

Getting braces can feel scary. Often, we know that it’s made of metal and may feel like an eternity before it finally comes off. If we don’t know anything else about our braces, we may have a less than awesome orthodontic experience.

When we know more about something, it becomes less unknown and mysterious, and can ease some of our fears. We hope that, by learning the names and functions for the different parts of your braces, you will feel more informed and empowered to fully embrace (see what we did there??) your orthodontic experience!We all know what braces look like, but do we all know what each part is called, and what role it plays in your orthodontic journey? No? We are so excited to educate you about your braces!

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