Parts of Braces

Braces include several elements that all work together harmoniously to move your teeth into their appropriate positions.

We’ve compiled this guide to help you become familiar with these components and their purposes, to help you understand your orthodontic treatment plan better.

Treatment plans will vary per patient, so some or all of these parts of your braces may be used at various times throughout the process.


The archwire is visible across the front surfaces of the teeth and is held in place by orthodontic brackets.

This device is primarily used to move the teeth into their proper positions.

The archwire is adjusted and tightened as needed to correct malocclusion over time.

As the archwires move, gentle pressure guides the teeth along with it.

Your archwires will progress in thickness and strength at each appointment with us, to give your teeth a little more pressure each time.


Typically placed on the molar teeth, bands are crafted from stainless steel. These components are bonded into place using a fluoride-containing dental cement, which helps prevent decalcification during your treatment. The bands are then custom fit to each patient and selected from a range of sizes, in order to find the tightest fitting band.


Brackets are bonded directly to each tooth and designed to hold your wires in place and are most commonly attached directly to the front of your teeth. They could also be attached to a band. The archwire fits into a slot on each bracket to hold it in place.

Coil Springs

Nestled between the brackets and over the archwires, coil springs are used to increase spacing between the teeth. Your doctor may choose to use an open or closed coil spring for the purpose of creating more space or maintaining an existing gap between two teeth.


Used to close spaces or correct the relationship of the maxillary and mandibular jaws, elastics are small rubber bands that can be hooked over brackets in a strategic manner. Generally, the elastic is placed around one bracket on the upper arch, then connected to a second bracket on the lower arch. Elastics come in a bunch of fun colors or clear to match your brackets.


Used in conjunction with elastics, hooks simply refer to the metal attachments on select brackets. These hooks are used to attach the elastics to the brackets so that the jaws can be brought into alignment.

Forsus Springs

Forsus springs encourage growth and development of the mandibular jaw. These functional devices connect the lower jaw to the upper molars with the purpose of placing the jaws in a more favorable position.


O-rings are tiny rubber bands that fit around the edges of the brackets, holding the archwire to each one. They come in a variety of colors or clear depending on your preference. The O-rings are changed at each orthodontic appointment.

Power Chain

Power chains are elastic or wire rings, linked together, to form a continuous band between each of your teeth. They are used to help narrow gaps in the teeth or to prevent spaces from opening up between your teeth. Power chains are replaced during each adjustment appointment.

Contact Us to Learn More

Still curious about some of the components we use at our Oakland, CA practice? Contact Righellis Orthodontics online or give us a call at 510-482-0600.

Dr. Righellis & Dr. Ikeda
Meet Dr Righellis & Dr Ikeda
Dr. Righellis is an awesome orthodontist! He did my braces about 20 years ago and now he is taking care of my daughter. My daughter has a difficult case and I would not trust any other orthodontist to treat her. His staff is professional, friendly, and helpful.Elena M.

Righellis & Associates

Orthodontics for Children and Adults

2220 Mountain Blvd.
Suite 204
Oakland, CA 94611

Office Hours

Monday - Thursday: 7:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.
Friday: On a limited basis – please call for availability