Orthodontics Topics

Clear braces, made of composite materials, are very strong and don’t stain. They are also lighter and more comfortable.

A revolutionary way to straighten teeth without visible braces. Invisalign uses a series of comfortable, removable, “invisible” aligners. Traditional orthodontic diagnosis combines with advanced 3D computer-graphics technology to craft a series of custom-made clear aligners. These are worn sequentially to produce tooth movements similar to metal braces. No one knows you’re having your teeth straightened, and the removable aligners let you brush and floss normally. And there are no dietary restrictions!

Customized appliances, frequently made of plastic, fit into the roof of the mouth and clip onto a tooth. Appliances are used to direct jaw growth and development in children and adolescents. Appliances are also used to control tongue thrusting and finger habits and to prevent damage from grinding teeth in your sleep. We also use special splints to help ease the discomfort of TMJ.


The metal wire that is attached to the brackets and used to move the teeth.

The metal ring that is cemented to a tooth for strength and anchorage.

The diagram below illustrates and names each part of a typical set of braces.

A. Ligature
The archwire is held to each bracket with a ligature, which can be either a tiny elastic or a twisted wire.

B. Archwire
The archwire is tied to all of the brackets and creates force to move teeth into proper alignment.

C. Brackets
Brackets are connected to the bands, or directly bonded on the teeth, and hold the archwire in place.

D. Metal Band
The band is the cemented ring of metal which wraps around the tooth.

E. Bracket Hooks
The bracket or band extensions that are used for the attachment of rubber bands.

A small metal part of the bracket welded to the cheek side of the molar band. The tube may hold an archwire, lip bumper, headgear facebow or other appliances an orthodontist may use to move the teeth.

A stretchable series of elastic o-rings connected together and placed around each bracket to hold the archwire in place and move the teeth.

Rubber bands.  During certain stages of treatment, small elastics or rubber bands are worn to provide individual tooth movement or jaw alignment.

This appliance is used to move the lower jaw forward.  It can be fixed or removable.  When it is fixed, it is cemented to teeth in one or both arches using stainless steel crowns.  An expansion screw may be used simultaneously to widen the upper jaw.

A small elastic o-ring, shaped like a donut, used to hold the archwire in the bracket.

A wire appliance used to move the lower molars back and the lower front teeth forward, creating room for crowded front teeth.  The lip bumper is an internal wire bow that attaches to the buccal tubes on the cheek side of the lower molar bands inside the mouth.  The front portion of the bow has an acrylic pad or bumper that rests against the inside of the lower lip.  The lower lip muscles apply pressure to the bumper creating a force that moves the molars back.

A removable device used to protect the teeth and mouth from injury caused by sporting activities.  The use of a mouthguard is especially important for orthodontic patients.

A fixed or removable device used to make the upper jaw wider.

A fixed or removable appliance worn after the braces are removed.  A removable retainer attaches to your upper and/or lower teeth and holds them in their finished positions.

Fixed Lingual Retainer

Hawley Appliance

Essix Retainer

An elastic o-ring or small wire loop placed between the teeth to create space for placement of bands.  Separators are usually placed between the teeth a week before bands are scheduled to be cemented to the teeth.

Wax is placed on the brackets or archwires to prevent them from irritating the lips or cheeks.