Glossary

To help understand what is happening during treatment, it may be helpful to learn about the parts of your braces.

1. ARCHWIRES- The main wires or arch wires are shaped specifically to fit around the arch into your bracket slots. Teeth move from the pressure that is applied by the arch wire, which guides the direction of movement.

2. BANDS- Bands are a ring of metal, which fit around the back teeth (molars and sometimes premolars). Each tooth has its own shape and size. The bands are selected from a range of sizes. The aim is to select the tightest fitting band. The bands are sealed in position using a dental cement (like glue) containing fluoride to prevent any decalcification during treatment.

3. BONDING- Attaching brackets (braces) to the surface of a tooth utilizing an orthodontic adhesive. This is how braces are put on your teeth. A light is used to make the material strong.

4. BRACKETS- Commonly known as ‘braces.’ The part that holds the arch wire against each tooth, the arch wire, fits into a slot in the bracket. Brackets may be attached directly to each tooth or to a band.

5. BUCCAL TUBES- Are tubes that face the inside of your cheek. The term buccal comes from the Latin word for cheek, bucca. These tubes (when attached to the last molar) are responsible for anchoring the arch wire.

6. ELASTICS (Rubber Bands)- Used to move teeth in prescribed direction and are changed often to ensure that the rubber bands do not lose their working power. This type of rubber band helps your teeth to fit together properly.

7. ELASTIC TIES- A tiny often times colored rubber ring that ties the wire into the bracket, also known as ‘A-lastics.’

8. EXPANDER- An orthodontic device used to create a wider space in the upper jaw. We have typically eliminated the use of expanders in our office; however, there are certain cases where an expander may be needed for correction.

9. IMPRESSIONS- Study models of your teeth are sometimes necessary for developing the appropriate treatment plan for your case. We also take impressions to make retainers and other types of appliances needed during your treatment.

10. PHASE I TREATMENT- Interceptive orthodontic treatment. The goal of Phase I Treatment is to decrease the severity of dental problems that may develop prior to full orthodontic correction. When a patient needs early treatment they will typically need a Phase 2 when deemed necessary by the doctor.

11. RETAINER- Any orthodontic appliance, fixed or removable, used to maintain the position of the teeth following corrective treatment. Retainers should be worn indefinitely to maintain the results of your treatment.