Demystifying Orthodontic Appliances and Parts of Braces!

Anyone who has or had braces has noticed the different parts and probably wondered what role they perform in orthodontic treatment. Some patients just have the basics: brackets, archwires, and O-rings, while others have extra components to correct a more complex issue. Our team at Orchard of Smiles Orthodontics would like to demystify the orthodontic appliances!

The brackets serve as the anchor points. We place them very precisely on each tooth.

Then comes the archwire, which can come in different thicknesses and be made of different materials depending on what we want it to do. Some archwires remember its original shape and apply pressure on the brackets (and, in turn, the teeth) over time to return to that shape. Other archwires are adjustable and can be bent or 'detailed' to fine-tune the alignment of teeth. The colorful O-rings (or color ties) keep the archwire fastened to the brackets but allow some movement and sliding when necessary.

A common and simple add-on is the elastic band (rubber bands). These help by applying pressure to teeth and jaws to coordinate the dental alignment and dental fit or bite more ideally. They only work on schedule if the patient uses them EXACTLY as instructed. Skipping them here or there will delay treatment, but so will doubling up! Don’t try to outsmart the orthodontist’s plan; it came from years of training and experience.

Braces called bands are special rings that are typically preceded by spacers to make room for them. These are frequently added to the back teeth due to their durability to minimize breakage with chewing.

Some patients require custom designed appliances, such as a palatal expander to correct a narrow palate, crowding, and/or crossbites.

Holding arches can keep the space open if a child loses a baby tooth too early.

If a patient has a deep bite, we can correct it with a bite plate.

Retainers are worn after active orthodontic treatment to retain or hold the final result.

The more you know the more you grow! If you would like to learn more or to schedule your complimentary orthodontic consultation please call us at 267.991.9690 or email us at

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