The Different Parts of Braces and What They Do

Here at Wiesemann Orthodontics, we know the thought of orthodontic care can be daunting. Among other things, braces are so complicated! At least, it can seem that way from the outside. 

Luckily, Dr. Wiesemann and your orthodontic team have it all figured out! 

That is, we have full professional knowledge of the different aspects of orthodontic appliances, including that traditional metal braces, ceramic braces, and lingual (self-ligating) braces. Read on to learn more about the various parts of braces below! 


Brackets are small metal squares attached to the front and side teeth. They act like handles that allow us to grab onto the teeth to move them. They are bonded directly to the tooth’s enamel with a unique adhesive. Brackets are made of stainless steel.

Clear Brackets

These brackets are composed of ceramic material that closely matches the teeth’ color. Many patients enjoy the lower profile afforded by these “clear” brackets. 


These metal rings fit around your back teeth or molars. Each of these

has an attachment of metal welded to the exterior, allowing the archwire to connect. These bands are fixed in place on the teeth with an orthodontia-specific cement. 


This is the metal wire connecting the various brackets and bands of the system. The archwire performs the actual work of aligning the brackets. This asserts the gentle, consistent pressure that guides the teeth into the desired positions. The teeth move in accordance with the bends Dr. Wiesemann places into the archwire. Spaces in the teeth close as they move along the path set by the archwire. 

Power & Energy Chain

Each rubber ring is connected to the next in a row, causing them to resemble a chain. This stretches along a group of brackets, with a ring for each bracket. The rubber O-ring rows connected together are known as the power and energy chain. The chain attempts to retract, thus pulling the teeth together. The teeth are helped to move along the archwire and close spaces via the action of the chain. These power chains are available in grey, clear, or a variety of fun colors. Dr. Wiesemann and the team here at Wiesemann Orthodontics will change the chain at each visit, so feel free to request a new color every time! 


The O-ring is the tiny rubber ring working to keep the archwire in place at the site of the brackets. Dr. Wiesemann and the team place the O-Rings by fixing them around each bracket by the corners, over the archwire. These can come in clear, grey, or one of another number of colors. In the case of lingual or self-ligating braces, they do not require O-rings since each bracket has its own mechanism for attaching to the archwire and keeping it fixed in place. 

The Different Parts of Braces and What They DoTypes of Rubber Bands 

First of all, when we talk about rubber bands for braces, we’re really talking about two different types: Ligatures and Elastics. Depending on your or your child’s particular case, Dr. Wiesemann may only require the first type of band or the ligature. 

In either case, both types of orthodontic rubber bands (really, elastic bands, as these aren’t your typical rubber bands!) are more sophisticated and comfortable than you may remember from high school! Let’s learn a little bit more about each: 

Type #1 – Ligatures

No matter what treatment plan Dr. Wiesemann has developed for you or your child, if it involves traditional braces (metal or ceramic), it will include ligatures. These are the tools interwoven on each bracket. Ligatures are designed to hold the archwire in place with the correct tension to your teeth to affect the desired outcome. These are one of the most critical parts of any braces setup. 

The ligatures stretch and wear out over time, so a unique tool called a Mathieu Plier replaces them at necessary intervals. Usually, at least one or two will be replaced during your child’s monthly visit. Additionally, The entire set will be replaced once the next phase of treatment is reached. 

At Wiesemann Orthodontics, we offer a variety of fun color options for ligatures. Just ask, and we can deck them out in your favorite sports team or even school colors! 

Type #2 – Interarch Bands (Elastics) 

Interarch bands, sometimes referred to as elastics, are an essential part of some treatment plans. Typically employed in the case of an over or underbite, interarch bands are not as intertwined with the mechanism as ligatures. They consist of a simple set of exterior bands connected to the brackets at strategic points using hooks. They run between the upper and lower jaw and will help to apply specifically directed pressure toward correcting your bite. 

Dr. Wiesemann can set the position of the interarch bands at specific points, depending on the type of bite problem. They are designed to be removed by the patient and should be taken out to brush and floss and, depending on direction, to eat. 

These are an important part of many treatment plans, and when used correctly, they can drastically reduce the time required to fix your or your child’s smile and bite! 

The Different Parts of Braces and What They Do

Call today for a free consultation! 

Thanks for taking the time to learn more about the different parts of braces and what they do. Whether you’re a current client who wants to learn more about an appliance you already have or you’re wondering whether braces are right for you, we’ve got the tools to take care of your orthodontic needs. With convenient locations in Bowling Green, Portland, White House, and Russelville, you can get care right when you need it, right where you are! 

We’ll see you soon! It’s time to start smiling!