Most people have a general idea of what braces look like and what they are used for. However, many people have no idea what the individual parts of braces are and what they do.

Adults typically need to wear braces for three or four years, while kids usually have to wear them for two years, according to It is important that you understand what each part of your braces is and how they work.

Get Familiar With the Terms

Braces are made up of several different parts including bands, ligatures, springs, chains, brackets, and more. You may or may not need to have all of these parts used throughout your orthodontic journey. Your orthodontist will determine which parts need to be on your braces.


Most braces require brackets. Brackets are small metal or ceramic parts that are affixed to each tooth using dental cement. Brackets are used to hold the wires in place. They are even available in different colors such as clear.

Arch Wires

The technical name for the thin metal wires used in braces is arch wires. The arch wires are connected to the brackets and apply gentle pressure to the teeth helping them move into the desired position. Arch wires are available in a range of colors and can even be clear. Arch wires are one of the most important parts of braces because they are what connect the brackets, putting pressure on the teeth and shifting them into their correct places.


Ligatures are the tiny rubber bands that connect the wires to the brackets. They are changed at every adjustment appointment. They come in a wide range of colors that can be used to decorate braces.

Coil Springs and Power Chains

Coil springs are used when two teeth are crowded, while power chains are used when two teeth are positioned too far apart. Each of these parts is affixed over the arch wire to add some pulling and pushing power.


Dental rubber bands are fitted over the rear molars to add tension to the arch wires. These special bands add tension to the braces to ensure the wire can get the job done.

Speak to Your Orthodontist

If you or your child are scheduled to get braces, contact the friendly team at Nowlin Orthodontics with any questions or concerns that you have. Your orthodontist is the expert that can answer all your questions.