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Ortho Dictionary

Appliance: Anything your orthodontist attaches to your teeth which moves your teeth or changes the shape of your jaw.

Archwire: The metal wire that acts as a track to guide your teeth along as they move. It is changed periodically throughout treatment as your teeth move to their new positions.

Band: A metal ring that is cemented to your tooth, going completely around it. Bands provide a way to attach brackets to your teeth.

Bond: The seal created by orthodontic cement that holds your appliances in place.

Bracket: A metal or ceramic part cemented ("bonded") to your tooth that holds your archwire in place.

Coil Spring: A spring that fits between your brackets and over your archwire to open space between your teeth.

Elastic (Rubber Band): A small rubber band that is hooked between different points on your appliance to provide pressure to move your teeth to their new position.

Elastic Tie: The tiny rubber band that fits around your bracket to hold the archwire in place. They come in a variety of colors.

Headgear: Headgear uses an external wire apparatus known as a facebow to gently guide the growth of your face and jaw. The force is applied to the facebow by a spring-loaded neck strap or head strap. The straps have a safety release that disconnects if the facebow is pulled or snagged.

Headgear Tube: A round, hollow attachment on your back bands. The inner bow of your headgear fits into it.

Hook: A welded or removable arm to which elastics are attached.

Ligature: A thin wire that ties your archwire to your bracket.

Lip Bumper: A lip bumper is an archwire attached to a molded piece of plastic. The lip bumper holds back the molars on your lower jaw to provide more space for your other teeth.

Mouthguard: A device that protects your mouth from injury when you participate in sports or rigorous activities.

Palatal Expander: A device that widens your upper jaw.

Retainer: An appliance that is worn after your braces are removed, the retainer attaches to your upper and/or lower teeth to hold them in place. Some retainers are removable, while others are bonded to the tongue-side of several teeth.

Separator or Spacer: A small rubber o-ring that creates space between teeth usually used before bands are placed.

Tie Wire: A fine wire that is twisted around your bracket to hold the archwire in place.

Wax: Wax is used to stop your braces from irritating your soft tissues.