The Different Parts of Braces and What They Do

Crooked teeth mean braces. You or your child may ask what braces do and what is gonna go into their mouth. Braces are made up of different parts and materials doing differing tasks to move the teeth. Orthodontists use the skills learned to know how much work a particular part needs to do. In this post, you can read up on all the different parts of braces and their role in successful tooth movement. Read More…

Anatomy of Braces

As an adult undergoing treatment or a parent, you need to be able to explain the new bits in your child’s mouth. ‘Stretchy thing’ or ‘train tracks’ won’t give the kid the right tools to get on with treatment.

Choosing the best braces is a difficult decision. Learning the components and parts of braces may turn your head spinning. These details are helpful when looking for questions about braces. Here is a list for each braces part and their description. Let’s start with the thing we see the most.


Wires or Archwires are the part of the braces that actually move the teeth. The thickness of the wire will depend on your personal needs. They are metal and slide and secure into the bracket slots.

The metal wire will then put pressure on the teeth to move. Your orthodontist will change these wires as and when needed to move the next phase of the movement along. Wires are bent into shape and tightened gradually, this exerts the most proficient pressure on the teeth. The wires fit into brackets…


The brackets hold the wires in place. These brackets are glued to the teeth with special dental cement. The mission for brackets is to hold the archwire secure so it can move the teeth with precision.  In modern times brackets are made of two materials.

  • Metal – Metal brackets are used with traditional metal braces.
  • Ceramic – Ceramic brackets like those used with Damon Braces can be colored to match the tooth. They are also available in clear material.

The brackets and wires are helped along with rubber ligature bands…


Ligatures secure the wires and brackets together. Also known as intermaxillary elastics. Children and adults alike have the choice of colors to suit their moods. Small but powerful, these rubber bands are an essential part of proper alignment.


Small elastic bands are used to connect the jaws and aid movement. This is done with pressure from the stretching of the rubber. An overbite will need the bands to hook on the top front and bottom back of the teeth. This forces the upper and lower teeth into the correct position.

Additional Parts

Separators (Spacers)

In order to fit bands around molar teeth, separators are used before treatment starts. Like small rubber bands, they are worn for a week pushing the teeth away from each other just enough to create space. This process is only used for the molar teeth that will have molar bands placed on them. 

Molar Band

A molar band is a ring of thin metal attached to back teeth. These attach with rubber bands and help the process of teeth movement. 

Power Chain

Power chains are the orthodontic equivalent of muscle. Gaps that need closing and prevention of gap creation during treatment will use power chains. These work the same as ligature bands but are more powerful and treatment can be made more precise.


You will find hooks on some types of brackets. These hooks are for rubber bands.

Bite Ramp

A bite ramp is used for opening a deep bite. The ramp will keep you from biting. It is biting that affects the other components. A bite ramp is only used until the bite has developed.

Coil Springs

Coil Springs are used when you need some oomph to separate teeth. The coil springs are only used in some cases. They are fitted to the wire and separate teeth gradually.

Palatal Expander

A palatal expander widens the upper arch. This is used by orthodontists to correct a cross-bite. 

Herbst Appliance

The Herbst Appliance modifies the growth of the jaw. Cemented into place, it keeps the lower jaw in a forward position to allow for better growth potential. Your mouth is not affected by this device.


At Tisseront Orthodontics based in Reston, VA we have all the knowledge on all parts of braces that go in your mouth and what they do. If you or your child seek orthodontic treatment but do not understand what all the things do contact us and we will answer your questions.

Contact our office today to make an appointment to see Dr. Tisseront and his team. A discovery appointment is complimentary and easy to book.

The Different Parts of Braces and What They Do