Terminology Used with Braces

When you visit an orthodontist you will hear several orthodontic terms used by the doctor and staff in reference to braces. We have complied a list of common terms to better help you understand the braces and the process. This may also help you better explain if something, and what specifically, is bothering or causing discomfort to you.

Archwire
The metal wire that fits into the bands and brackets part of the braces and guides your teeth to their new positions.

Band
A metal ring to which brackets or other attachments can be connected to. Bands are typically used on the back teeth.

Bracket
A metal, ceramic, or plastic piece that is bonded to a tooth during treatment. The bracket has a slot where the archwire goes.

Elastic
Elastic or rubber band is a removable band that attaches to the hooks of the braces.

Elastic Tie
Elastic Tie or an O-tie is a small rubber tie that fits around the bracket and helps secure the archwire. O-ties come in many colors.

Forsus Spring
Spring coil rods that are permanently attached to the braces. These rods are used to correct short lower jaws, or those not wearing elastics.

Hook
A hook is an attachment for elastics. Hooks can be connected to brackets and bands or attached to archwires.

Power Chain
Power Chain is made of the same material as the O-ties. The elastics form a continuous chain that can be used instead of the elastics. Power chain is used to close caps between teeth.

Spacer
A rubber ring slightly larger than an O-tie that is placed in between two teeth. The purpose of separators is to create space for bands.

Wire tie
A thin wire used to secure the archwire to the bracket.

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