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Parts of Braces


Bands are small rings of metal that fit around the molars and premolars if necessary. They are selected from a range of sizes so that we can find the tightest fitting band. The bands are then sealed in position using dental cement that contains fluoride to prevent any decalcification during treatment.


The main wires, or archwires, are shaped specifically to fit around the arch into the bracket slots. Teeth move from the pressure that is applied by the braces. That pressure comes from the archwire, which guides the direction of the movement.


The brackets hold the arch wire against each tooth. The arch wire fits into a slot that is in each bracket. Brackets may attached directly to each tooth or a band.


An elastic is the tiny rubber ring that ties the arch wire into the bracket


Hooks are small attachments on the brackets used to attach elastics (rubber bands).

Coil Spring

The coil spring fits between brackets and over the archwire.


Used to hold an archwire in place, a ligature is made of thin wire.

Lip Bumper

A wire on the lower jaw that extends from one molar to another and keeps lips and cheeks from touching your teeth. When you move your mouth or speak, your lips and cheeks push on the bumper, and the bumper applies pressure to the teeth. This pressure pushes the molars back, creating more space for overcrowded teeth.


A mouthpiece that is tailored to provide protection to the braces and teeth while the patient is playing a sport.

Palatal Expander

Attached to the upper molars through bonding or by cemented bands, the palatal expander is used to create a wider space in the upper jaw.

Separator (spacer)

Small elastics that fit snugly between certain teeth to move them slightly so bands can be placed around them later.

Tie Wire

A very small, thin wire that is twisted around a bracket to hold the archwire in place.


Patients are instructed to place wax over a bracket or poking wire that is causing irritation to the lip or cheek.