Orthodontic Terms to Know


Anything Dr. Hiller attaches to your teeth that moves your teeth or changes the shape of your jaw.


An archwire is a thin metal wire that runs from bracket to bracket and puts pressure on the teeth for movement.  Many of our archwires are a Nickel Titanium alloy that when activated by the heat of the mouth, exert a constant and slight (non-painful) pressure.  This is ideal for tooth movement and patient comfort.


Bands are metal rings that are usually placed on back teeth to anchor the archwire and sometimes to attach elastics. A tube is usually welded to the cheek side to allow for archwire insertion.


The seal created by orthodontic adhesive that holds your appliances in place.


A bracket or 'brace' is attached to each tooth with a small dab of bonding material during your first treatment visit. A bracket really is just a very sophisticated and highly engineers handle for Dr. Hiller to move your tooth.

Coil Spring

A spring that fits between your brackets and over your archwire to open space between your teeth.

Elastic (or Rubber Band)

A small rubber band is attached between different points on your braces to provide pressure to move your teeth to their new position.  Tiny hooks on selected upper and lower brackets are used as attachment points. The configuration of the elastics can be vertical or diagonal, depending on the individual’s need. Patients are responsible for placing and removing their elastics. Elastics should be worn as prescribed by Dr. Hiller - no more and no less. Doing so places excessive force on the teeth and can be harmful.

Elastic Tie or Ligature

The rubber band that fits around your bracket to hold the archwire in place. They come in a variety of colors.


Headgear uses an external wire apparatus known as a facebow to gently guide the growth of your face and jaw by moving your teeth into proper position. The force is applied to the facebow by a spring-loaded neck strap or head strap. The straps have a safety release that disconnects if the facebow is pulled or snagged.


A welded or removable arm to which elastics are attached.


Non-painful slenderizing of the teeth to create ideal tooth size.


A thin wire or elastic that holds your archwire into your bracket.


A device that protects your mouth from injury when you participate in sports or rigorous activities.

Palatal Expander

A device that makes your upper jaw wider.


An appliance that is worn after your braces are removed, the retainer attaches to your upper and/or lower teeth to hold them in place. Some retainers are removable and others are bonded to the tongue-side of several teeth.

Reverse Pull Headgear (or Face Mask)

An external facemask worn to gently guide the growth of your face and upper jaw. Elastics (rubber bands) are worn from hooks inside the mouth to the mask to help pull the upper jaw forward.

Separator (or Spacer)

A small rubber ring that creates space between your teeth before the bands are attached.

Temporary Anchorage Device (TAD)

A temporary mini-screw placed into the jawbone to aid in the movement of teeth.


Wax is used to stop your braces from irritating your lips.

Our Locations

Conway, NH
127 Main, Street

Littleton, NH
175 Cottage Street

Plymouth, NH
15 Town West Road

St. Johnsbury, VT
161 Western Ave