Glossary

  • Appliance – Anything that is attached to your teeth that moves your teeth or corrects your bite.
  • Archwire – A wire engaged in orthodontic attachments, affixed to the crowns of two or more teeth and guides the direction of tooth movement.
  • Band (orthodontic) – A thin metal ring, usually stainless steel, which serves to secure orthodontic attachments to a tooth. The band is closely adapted to fit the contours of the tooth and then cemented into place.
  • Bracket – An orthodontic attachment made of metal, ceramic or plastic that holds the archwire against each tooth. The archwire fits into a slot in the bracket. Brackets may be attached directly to each tooth or to a band.
  • Ceramic Brackets – Crystalline, alumina, tooth-shade or clear synthetic sapphire brackets that are aesthetically more attractive than conventional metal attachments.
  • Chain – An elastic chain that is used to hold the archwires onto the brackets.
  • Coil Spring – The coil spring fits between brackets and over the archwire.
  • Debanding – The removal of cemented orthodontic bands.
  • Elastics (rubber bands) – A tiny rubber ring that ties the archwire into the bracket. Found in numerous colors for better appearance.
  • Fixed Retainer – A permanent retainer that is bonded to the back side of the front teeth to keep the teeth from shifting from their new position.
  • Habit Appliance – An appliance designed to deter thumb or finger sucking habits.
  • Headgear – Generic term for extraoral traction (attached around the back side of the head) for growth modification, tooth movement and anchorage.
  • Herbst appliance – Fixed or removable appliance designed commonly for overbite problems.
  • Impressions – An imprint or mold of the teeth used to design an orthodontic treatment plan.
  • Interceptive Treatment – Interceptive treatment, also known as early treatment, is limited orthodontic treatment usually performed between the ages of 6 and 10. This phase of treatment makes future orthodontic treatment faster and less invasive.
  • Lingual appliances – Orthodontic appliances fixed to the interior (tongue) side of teeth.
  • MARA appliance – A growth appliance that helps correct overbites by positioning the patient’s lower jaw forward.
  • Maxillary – Of or pertaining to the upper jaw. May be used to describe teeth, dental restorations, orthodontic appliances or facial structures.
  • Mouthguard – A mouthpiece that is tailored to provide protection to the braces and teeth while the patient is playing a sport.
  • Palatal Expander – Attached to the upper molars through bonding or by cemented bands, the palatal expander is used to create a wider space in the upper jaw.
  • Radiograph – A permanent image, typically on film, produced by ionizing radiation. Sometimes called an X-ray after the most common source of image-producing radiation.
  • Retainer – Any orthodontic appliance, fixed or removable, used to maintain the position of the teeth following corrective treatment.
  • Separator (spacer) – Small elastics that fit snugly between certain teeth to move them slightly so bands can be placed around them later.
  • Wax – Patients are instructed to place wax over a bracket or poking wire that is causing irritation to the lip or cheek.