O-tie

Easy-To-Tie Ligatures are small rubber bands designed with a 45-degree bend that are hooked on brackets to hold the arch wire in place.

Appliance

Anything the orthodontist attaches to your teeth to move your teeth or to change the shape of your jaw.

Archwire

A metal wire that is attached to your brackets to move your teeth.

Band

Bands are the larger metal rings that are sometimes placed on back teeth for strength and anchorage.

Bracket

Brackets are the small metal or ceramic modules attached to each tooth. They serve as guides to move the teeth and hold the archwire in place. The brackets used in orthodontics today bond directly to the teeth with a tooth-colored bonding adhesive. They are much smaller and lighter than ever.

Buccal Tube

A small metal part that is welded on the outside of a molar band. The molar band contains slots to hold archwires, lip bumpers, face bows and other things your orthodontist uses to move your teeth.

Chain

A stretchable plastic chain used to hold archwires into brackets and to move teeth.

Herbst Appliance

This appliance is usually attached using stainless steel crowns. Metal side bars and some front braces are often part of the appliance. Some applications may have an expansion screw in the middle of the palate to help widen the upper jaw.

Ligating Module

A small plastic piece, shaped like a donut, which is used to hold the archwires in the brackets on your teeth.

Lip Bumper

A lip bumper is used to push the molars on your lower jaw back to create more space for other teeth. The lip bumper consists of an archwire that is attached to a molded piece of plastic. You mount the archwire in the buccal tubes on your lower jaw, the plastic piece rests against your lips. When you eat or talk, you push the plastic piece back, which, in turn, pushes your molars back.

Mouthguard

A device that is used to protect your mouth from injury when you are participating in sports. The use of a mouthguard is especially important for orthodontic patients, to prevent injuries.

Palatal Expander

A device used to make your jaw wider.

Retainer

A gadget that the orthodontist gives you to wear after your braces are removed. The retainer attaches to your upper and/or lower teeth and holds them in the correct position while your jaw hardens and your teeth get strongly attached to your jaw. At first, you wear the retainer 24 hours a day, and then only at night.

Rubber Bands

During various phases of treatment, small elastics or rubber bands are used as a gentle but continuous force to help individual tooth movement or the aligning of the jaws.

Safety Strap

A plastic strap that prevents a face bow from coming loose ad hurting you.

Separator/Spacer

A plastic or metal part that the orthodontist uses to create space between your teeth for bands.

Wax

A clear wax used to prevent your braces from irritating your lips when your braces are first put on, or at other times.