Orthodontic Dictionary

Welcome to Biggs-Hansen Orthodontics in Indianapolis, IN, your family orthodontist!

Parts of Braces

  • Appliance – Anything your orthodontist attaches to your teeth or uses to move your teeth or change 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 and goes completely around your tooth.Bands provide a way to attach brackets to your teeth.
  • Bond – The seal created by orthodontic adhesives 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 rubber band that fits around your bracket to hold the archwire in place. They come in a variety of colors.
  • Hook – A welded or removable arm to which elastics are attached.
  • Ligature Wire – A thin wire that holds your archwire into your bracket.
  • Mouthguard – A device that protects your mouth from injury when you participate in sports or rigorous activities.
  • Palatal Expander – A device that makes the upper jaw wider.
  • 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 and others are bonded to the tongue-side of several teeth.
  • Separator (or Spacer) – A small rubber ring that creates space between your teeth before the bands are attached.
  • 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 lips.
biggs hansen orthodontics indianapolis in orthodontic dictionary parts of braces image
biggs hansen orthodontics indianapolis in Orthodontic Dictionary Orthodontic Procedures image

Orthodontic Procedures

  • Aligners – An alternative to traditional braces, aligners straighten your teeth with a series of clear custom-molded aligners. Aligners can correct some, but not all, orthodontic problems.  Brands we use include Invisalign®, 3M Clarity, and Details Aligners.
  • Banding – The process of fitting and cementing orthodontic bands to your teeth.
  • Bonding – The process of attaching brackets to your teeth using special orthodontic adhesive.
  • Cephalometic X-ray – An x-ray of your head which shows the relative positions and growth of the face, jaws, and teeth.
  • Consultation – A meeting with your orthodontist to discuss findings and treatment recommended.
  • Debanding – The process of removing orthodontic appliances from your teeth.
  • Scanning – The process of capturing a digital impression using a scanner, which does not require impression material.
  • Panoramic X-ray – An x-ray that rotates around your head to take pictures of your teeth, jaw and other facial areas.