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, 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 or 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

Ceramic tooth-shade 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

Coil spring fits between brackets and over the archwire. Coil springs are used as an auxillary appliance to open or close space.

debanding

The removal of cemented orthodontic bands.

elastics

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 minimize any movement after orthodontics.

forsus springs

Springs attached to the archwire to close spaces.

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 or neck) for growth modification, tooth movement and anchorage.

impressions

An imprint or mold of the teeth used to design an orthodontic treatment planor make an orthodontic appliance or retainer.

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 usually makes future orthodontic treatment faster and less invasive.

lingual appliances

Orthodontic appliances fixed to the interior (tongue) side of teeth.

maxillary/mandibular

Of or pertaining to the upper or lower jaw. May be used to describe teeth, dental restorations, orthodontic appliances or facial structures.

mouthguard

A mouthpiece that is used to provide protection to the braces and teeth while the patient is playing a sport.

palatal expander

Appliance that is attached to the upper molars through bonding or by cemented bands, that is used to widen the jaw to correct crossbite and create more space.

radiograph

Often called an x-ray is used  in an orthodontic diagnosis and progress evaluation.

retainer

Any orthodontic appliance, fixed or removable, used to maintain the position of the teeth following corrective treatment.

separator (spacer)

Small elastics that fit between certain teeth to move them slightly apart so bands can be placed around them.

wax

Patients are instructed to place wax over a bracket or poking wire that is causing irritation to the lip or cheek.