Different Parts of Braces

Are you interested in getting braces? Cowan & Whitaker Orthodontics is here to help guide you through the process! This powerful appliance creates a solid foundation for long-term oral and general health. To help you better understand it, our team is here to share the different parts of braces and what they do.

Braces Essentials

The most recognizable orthodontic tool, braces are a masterfully crafted appliance used to straighten out your teeth with careful pressure placed on your teeth and jaw. It corrects bite complications and gapped or crowded teeth. Many benefits follow realignments, such as increased confidence, a more comfortable chewing experience, and easier sleeping. 

Treatment Options

Cowan & Whitaker Orthodontics is proud to offer our patients the option of either clear or metal braces. The former is an advanced aesthetic choice popular among teens and adults seeking treatment without a flashy appearance, while metal braces are a tried and true appliance able to fix any dental issue you may encounter. Both are effective and reliable choices that provide the results you are looking for.

Different Parts of Braces

How Each Component Functions


This long wire stretches across your teeth and gets weaved through each bracket to anchor it in place. The archwire’s job is to place measured pressure on your teeth and jaws to slowly shift them in the right direction.


The recognizable small square components you see on teeth are known as brackets. They are anchor points for many other pieces that make up your braces. Each attachment’s placement is unique, so Dr. Cowan and Dr. Whitaker can manipulate the direction of your teeth. They are crafted with stainless steel for metal braces as well as tooth-colored polycrystalline ceramic for clear braces.


Your brackets are affixed to your teeth with the help of orthodontic glue called bonding cement. As permanent as it may feel on your teeth, the adhesive is formulated to be easily removed with the correct tools.

Metal Bands

To offer more stability during treatment, metal bands may be placed on your back molars to keep the archwire in place. This metal piece is custom-made to comfortably fit over your teeth. While they are not always necessary, your specific case could benefit from the extra part.


Also referred to as rubber bands, these small elastics are attached to your upper and lower bracket hooks to give specific teeth a helping hand moving in the right direction. They are available in many strengths and sizes to fit each case.


To keep your smile progress in place, we provide you with a retainer at the end of treatment. Fixed retainers stay in your mouth for many years, while removable ones you must remember to put in and take out. They are typically worn full-time for six months after your braces are removed, then nightly afterward.

Different Parts of Braces

Get Your Realigned Smile With Cowan & Whitaker Orthodontics 

Our office is a proud provider of expert braces treatment and is here to make your smile journey as effective and fun as possible! If you still have lingering questions that need answering, we can help you. Contact our Tuscaloosa office and schedule your free consultation today!

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