What is an orthodontic arch wire?
The arch wire is the metal wire that goes across your braces brackets and connects them, from one end of your mouth to the other. You have two arch wires; one on top and one on bottom. The pressure from the arch wire is what helps to move your teeth. As your treatment progresses, the orthodontist may change your arch wire to a heavier gauge or a different type.
What is an orthodontic ligature?
A ligature (also called an “o-ring”) is a tiny elastic that holds the arch wire onto each bracket of your braces. Ligatures come in a variety of colors. Some brackets are “self-ligating,” which means that they do not need the little elastics to hold the arch wire onto the brackets — instead they have a “sliding door” system for keeping the arch wire attached to the bracket.
Why do I need to have spacers put in before braces?
Sometimes there isn’t enough space between certain teeth to insert a metal band or other appliance. Spacers help move the teeth slightly to create space that is needed for your treatment. For more information, read What are Orthodontic Spacers?
How Do Braces Work?
In a nutshell, the ligament surrounding the teeth is loosened, allowing the teeth to move. The teeth move when the arch wire puts pressure on the brackets and teeth. Sometimes, springs or rubber bands are used exert more force in a specific direction. Braces exert constant pressure, which over time, move teeth into their proper positions. For a more detailed explanation, and illustrations of the parts of braces, read How Do Braces Work?
What are there hooks on my brackets?
Hooks are for attaching elastics (rubber bands). At some point in your treatment, your orthodontist may tell you to wear rubber bands that attach from a hook on the top brackets to a hook on the bottom brackets. Elastics help to close up your bite and correct things like midline problems. This all refers to the way your top and bottom teeth meet and align with each other.
What are there little tubes on my molar brackets?
The tubes (often called “buccal tubes”) on your molar brackets may be used for attaching an appliance like headgear or a face bow. Don’t be alarmed — just because you have them, it doesn’t mean that you are going to get headgear or a face bow! Some molar brackets have the tubes “by default.” My molar brackets had tubes but they were never used for anything in the three years I had my braces!