Understanding the Different Components of Dental Braces

Dental braces, also known as orthodontic braces or simply braces, are made up of various components that work together to align the teeth and correct malocclusions. Braces apply continuous pressure to the teeth and move them in the desired direction. The bony socket reabsorbs and changes shape with the movement of the teeth. The change in the shape of the bony socket then fixes the teeth in their new position.

The Different Components of Dental Braces

There are three types of components of braces namely, the active components, the base plate and the retentive components. There are several types of active and retentive components that are available. There are also two or more active components used in a single brace as two or more types of tooth movements are required.

The function of the active components of a brace is to cause the movement of the teeth. This is achieved by a process known as activation. Some active components are springs, arch wires and elastics. Retentive components, on the other hand, are responsible for holding the braces in position and providing stability. Some retentive components include clasps such as C clasp and Adam’s clasp. Lastly, the baseplate is a component that has the important function of holding all the retentive and active components in place.

Brackets and Orthodontic Bands

Brackets are bonded onto each tooth with a bonding agent. Brackets might also be attached to orthodontic bands that are cemented to the teeth. They provide the anchor for the bracket on each tooth. Brackets are generally made of stainless steel, but they can also be clear or tooth colored for invisibility. They hold the arch wires that move the teeth.

Arch Wires

These are attached to the brackets and are either metallic or clear or tooth colored according to the patient’s preference. They are responsible for the movement of the teeth in the required direction. They’re attached to the brackets with the help of fine wires or rubber rings. The arch wires are held firmly in place by a buccal tube attached to the orthodontic band on the last molar. Tiny rubber bands are also used to hold the arch wires to the brackets.


Springs are attached to the arch wires between the brackets of each tooth. These springs are responsible for the movement of the teeth as they push and pull as required and thus open or close the spaces between the teeth.

Elastic Rubber Bands

Rubber bands are attached to the brackets between some of the upper and lower teeth to move the upper teeth in relation to the lower teeth to perfect the bite.

C Clasp, Adam’s Clasp and Southend Clasp

These are clasps that attach to either the first, second or third molars to retain the braces in position.


The baseplate fits over the gingival and the roof of the mouth. It’s usually the same color as the gums and palate and is therefore pink. You can also order a clear baseplate to decrease its visibility. 

Dental braces consist of all the components mentioned above and they work in conjunction to give you a perfect smile.

Have specific questions?

All Article Categories

Before & After Photos

Suggested Doctors

Recently Asked Questions