Different Parts of Braces | Orthodontic Terminology

Posted On: February 15, 2021

There are many different parts of braces. Understanding some basic orthodontic terminology will help you be more prepared when getting started with treatment. At Freytag Orthodontics, we will walk you through what everything means as you go through treatment. However, if you would like to give yourself a head start, here is a breakdown of the different parts of braces with photos listed below:


The upper or lower jaw are referred to as an “arch”.

Orthodontic Arch


A small metal or ceramic attachment that gets bonded to the tooth with adhesive. The bracket has a slot where the archwire sits.


Self-ligating Bracket

Self-ligating brackets are a metal or ceramic bracket with a “door” on the front of it. The door holds the archwire in place removing the need for round rubber bands. Dr. Freytag specializes in the use of self-ligating brackets.

Self Ligating Bracket


The archwire is the metal wire inserted into the bracket which is used to actually move the teeth. Archwires come in a variety of sizes each with their own specific use. Certain wires align teeth while others are used to move individual teeth with beauty bends (perminate bends in the wire).  


Coil Spring

Coil springs are used when two teeth are too close together. The spring goes over the archwire and are used to create more space by moving the teeth away from eachother.

Coil Spring


Chain Elastics

A “chain” is connected rubber bands that are stretched across the entire arch to close space between teeth. 

Chain Elastics 01



Rubber Bands | Elastics

Rubber bands are used during different stages of orthodontics treatment for individual tooth movement or jaw alignment. Elastics are worn from upper arch to lower arch.

Rubber Bands 01

Separators or Spacers

Spacers, AKA “separators” are made up of rubber band o-rings or metal rings that are inserted between molars to create space for a band. They are inserted 1 to 2 weeks before the band is placed. 


Bracket Hook

Bracket hooks are used to attach elastics between the upper and lower jaw.

Bracket Hook


Now that you understand the different parts of braces…

You’re ready to get started! At Freytag Orthodontics, we offer both metal and clear (ceramic) braces. Give our office a call today to schedule your FREE consultation, or click here to request a video exam that can be done from the comfort of your own home.