Common Tools & Devices Used by Orthodontists

Orthodontics is a specialized area of dentistry that deals with irregularities with teeth. These irregularities are typically addressed through the use of orthodontic treatments, the most familiar examples being the braces and retainers used in the process of straightening a person’s teeth. As a specialty program, a person interested in this area of practice has to complete an accredited post-graduate program in orthodontics approved by the Council on Orthodontic Education of the American Dental Association of Orthodontics. Such a program can take from 2 to 3 years to complete.

A professional working in the area of orthodontics has to be familiar with the common tools, devices and gadgets that are typically used. These devices also have common applications in dentistry and are similar to other types of tools that can be found in other occupations and disciplines. Here are five common items that every orthodontist should be familiar with.

Band and Bracket Removing Pliers

The purpose behind band and bracket removing pliers is to remove the bands and brackets used in aligning teeth. Bands and brackets are common material found in braces that are affixed to the teeth by an orthodontist. The tools commonly resemble the type of pliers that you may find in home use or that are used by a mechanic working in an auto shop. A band or bracket remover can be used to make adjustments to braces that have been placed in a patient’s mouth or remove braces altogether once the alignment process has completed itself.

Orthodontic Brackets

An orthodontic bracket is a fitting that is typically attached to the bands used to align teeth. The bracket is useful in bringing the teeth into alignment. This is done by placing wire through the bracket holes and running them through the bands that make up the brace assembly. A tool known as a bird beak is used to bend the wire that is fed through the brackets.


Orthodontic bands are the fittings that are placed over the teeth when braces are fitted on a patient. The bands are designed with a bracket through which wire is fed to align irregular teeth as part of the alignment process. The bands can be made of either metal or plastic.

Bird Beak

The bird beak is a type of pliers that is used to bend metal wire. There are many uses for wire in orthodontic work, among other uses, it is used to align the brackets attached to the bands that make up braces. The bird beak gets its name from the way in which the pliers are shaped, resembling a bird’s beak.

Bite Stick

The bite stick tool is used to place bands on teeth. An orthodontist uses the bite stick to push the round metal band down onto the teeth. The round bands are shaped to fit around the teeth, however the design of the bite stick allows the patient to bite down, forcing the band to seat comfortably around the tooth.  Bite sticks found in use by an orthodontist are made from different colored plastics and may also be made from steel.

These tools and many others are used regularly by orthodontists around the world. Anyone interested in studying orthodontia should familiarize him- or herself with these and many other tools of the trade.

Douglas Winkle writes on health, oral hygiene, dentistry, eye care, wellness, psychology & other related matters. Readers looking to learn more about dentistry & orthodontics are encouraged to visit (also at


Image credit goes to Louisville Dentistry.

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