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Parts of Braces

Girl smiling with braces

What are the different parts that make up braces?

Having braces involves more than just the braces themselves. There are many ‘parts’ that work together to move and align teeth. The first part of course are the braces themselves. Braces is plural for a whole set of ‘brackets’. Individual braces are called brackets. A bracket is bonded to each tooth with a special tooth cement.

The brackets themselves cannot move teeth. The second part that is critical for proper movement is the archwire or ‘wire’. There are many different sizes, thicknesses, flexibilities and shapes of wires. Based upon where you are in treatment, the orthodontist will prescribe a certain type of wire.

In order for the braces to grab onto the wire, there needs to be ligature ties. There are various names for the ties that hold the wire into the braces: ligature ties, o-rings, color rings. Any of these names are acceptable. This team of brackets + wire + ligature ties is what allows proper orthodontic movement.

Moving the bite often involves the use of rubber bands. These are removable elastics that get attached to the braces by hooking on the hooks that are on the brackets themselves.

In addition to braces, wires, ligature ties, and elastics are various other appliances and accessories, but these are the main components that nearly all orthodontic treatment involves.

Diagram showing the different parts of braces

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