(A) - Brackets
Brackets are the small metal squares that are glued individually to each tooth. Metal brackets are generally made of stainless steel, while clear braces are made of a mixture of plastic and porcelain. Together with the arch wires, the brackets move the teeth to the desired position.
(B) - Archwire
The archwire is the wire that wraps around the arch of your teeth and connects all of the brackets together. It does the work of aligning the brackets and teeth together. When you first get braces, your wires are made of Nickel Titanium, which are "softer" wires. As you get used to your braces, we we will place Stainless Steel wires to create greater force for moving your teeth.
(C) - Power Chain
Power chains are rows of rubber O-rings that are connected together. The chain is wrapped around a group of brackets. This has the effect of pulling the teeth together. Power chains come in a variety of colours. Each time you come in for your appointment, you get to choose a different colour to suit your mood!
(D) - Elastics
Elastics are rubber bands that placed or hooked from one bracket to another to bring the teeth and bite together. Depending on what bite problems you have, there are a variety of ways to stretch the elastics. Elastics lose their elasticity with use, so you need to the elastics often, as well as removing and replacing them when you eat. We will provide you with a few bags of elastics so you will have enough until your next appointment with us. It is vital to be consistent in elastic wear as this will ensure that your bite and gaps are fixed. The more you wear your elastics, the faster you will finish your treatment. If you run out of elastics, please drop in at our clinic to pick some up, but remember which "animal" is on the front of your elastics bag, as there are several types of elastics with differing strengths!
Bite Blocks are blue coloured acrylic material that is placed on the lower back teeth to prevent your upper teeth from biting down on your lower teeth. This is usually placed on patients with deep overbites, so as to stop the top teeth from biting down and breaking the lower braces. As your bite improves, the bite blocks will be removed. It is a common occurrence for bite blocks to come off on one or both sides, don't panic – this is not a major problem – just call and inform the clinic and we can re-place them either at your next appointment, or sooner subject to availability. The thing to remember when a bite block comes off, is to chew carefully when you are eating to prevent biting down on your lower braces.