Orthodontic Terms

  • Aligners


    Aligners are a sequence of clear, removable trays that fit over the teeth both orthodontists and dentists use as an alternative to traditional metal dental braces to straighten them.
  • Appliances


    Anything the orthodontist attaches to your teeth to move your teeth or to change the shape of your jaw.
  • Archwire


    A metal wire which is attached to your brackets to move your teeth.
  • Banding


    The process of cementing orthodontic bands to your teeth.
  • Band


    A metal ring that is usually placed on your teeth to hold on parts of your braces.
  • Biteplate


    A fixed or removable appliance used to open a deep bite (decrease the vertical overlap of the upper and lower incisors)
  • Bonding


    The process of attaching brackets to your teeth using a special safe adhesive.
  • Braces

    A device used in orthodontics to align teeth and their position with regard to a person's bite. They are often used to correct malocclusions such as underbites, overbites, cross bite and open bites, deep bites, or crooked teeth and various other flaws of teeth and jaws, whether cosmetic or structural.
  • Bracket


    Brackets are the small metal or ceramic modules attached to each tooth. They serve as guides to move the teeth and hold the archwire in place.
  • Buccal Tube

    Buccal Tube

    A small metal part that is welded on the outside of a molar band. The molar band contains slots to hold archwires, lip bumpers, facebows and other things your orthodontist uses to move your teeth.
  • Cephalometric X-Ray

    Cephalometric X-Ray

    An x-ray of the head that shows if your teeth are aligned and growing properly.
  • Chain


    A stretchable plastic chain used to hold archwires into brackets and to move teeth.
  • Consultation

    A meeting with your orthodontist where he/she discusses your treatment plan.
  • Debonding


    The removal of cemented orthodontic brackets.
  • Elastics


    Elastics or rubber bands for braces help move the upper and lower teeth relative to each other, ultimately achieving a better bite. The orthodontic rubber bands are typically effective for correcting overbites, underbites, or other types of alignments of the jaw. They are also useful for moving a tooth out of alignment or to close a space in the mouth.
  • Emergenices


    Do not occur very often, but if they do, your orthodontic office will respond quickly
  • Extractions

    Removal of primary or permanent teeth to make space for orthodontic treatment.
  • Fixed Retainer

    Fixed Retainer

    Fixed retainers consist of a metal wire bonded to the back of the teeth. Fixed retainers can stay in place indefinitely.
  • Forsus


    The Forsus appliance is an orthodontic appliance that is affixed to the teeth. Springs mounted on the side of the appliance force the lower jaw forward upon closure of the jaws retraining the bite and correcting a Class II problem.
  • Hawley Retainer

    Hawley Retainer

    Hawley retainer includes a metal wire that surrounds the teeth and keeps them in place. Named for its inventor, Dr. Charles Hawley, the labial wire, or Hawley bow, incorporates 2 omega loops for adjustment. It is anchored in an acrylic arch that sits in the palate (roof of the mouth).
  • Headgear


    A removable appliance worn to restrict growth of the upper jaw and improve overjet problems. It normally consists of a facebow that attaches to the teeth and a strap that fits around the neck or head.
  • Herbst


    An appliance that is designed to correct bites and improve facial profiles.
  • Impressions


    The first step in making a model of your teeth. You bite into a container filled with a rubber-type material. That material hardens to produce a mold of your teeth.
  • Interceptive Treatment

    Interceptive Treatment

    Orthodontic treatment that is usually done between the ages of 6 and 10. The objective of interceptive orthodontic treatment is to provide orthopedic intervention, so that later orthodontic treatment goes quicker and is less painful.
  • Interproximal reduction (IPR)

    Interproximal reduction (IPR)

    Interproximal reduction (IPR) is the removal of small amounts of outer enamel tooth surface between two adjacent teeth. It is a means to acquire additional space to create ideal tooth alignment. Alternative names include: slenderizing, stripping, enamel reduction, and reproximation.
  • Ligating Module

    Ligating Module

    A small plastic piece, shaped like a donut, which is used to hold the archwires in the brackets on your teeth.
  • Ligation


    A process where an archwire is attached to the brackets on your teeth
  • Lingual Arch

    Lingual Arch

    A lingual arch is an orthodontic device which connects two molars in the upper or lower dental arch.
  • Lip Bumper

    A lip bumper is used to push the molars on your lower jaw back to create more space for other teeth. The lip bumper consists of an archwire that is attached to a molded piece of plastic. You mound the archwire in the buccal tubes on your lower jaw, the plastic piece rests against your lips. When you eat or talk, you push the plastic piece back, which, in turn, pushes your molars back.
  • mara


    A Mara is a fixed appliance consisting of metal caps and small, hook-like devices. The hooks impact during the bite to drive the lower jaw forward retraining the bite and correcting a Class II problem.
  • Mouthguard


    A device that is used to protect your mouth form injury when you are participating in sports. The use of a mouthguard is especially important for orthodontic patients, to prevent injuries.
  • Nance


    The Nance button is utilized to hold teeth in position to allow for the movement of other teeth. The impact of the button on the lower palate creates force on the back molars.
  • Oral Hygiene

    Oral Hygiene

    Effective brushing and flossing is one of the most critical actions needed from patients during braces. Regular visits to the general dentist for examination and cleaning are also essential. The results of inadequate oral hygiene include decalcification (white spots/marks), gingivitis (inflammation of the gums), and periodontal disease (inflammation leading to bone loss).
  • Orthodontic Adjustment

    Orthodontic Adjustment

    An evaluation of your progress where your wires may be changed to keep your treatment on track and moving forward.
  • Orthodontic Photographs

    Orthodontic Photographs

    Pictures taken upon the completion of treatment show the amazing changes that the orthodontics has achieved in both growth and development of the teeth, jaws and aesthetics of the smile. The orthodontist uses the pictures throughout treatment to monitor changes
  • Orthodontic Records

    Orthodontic Records

    These records, which include cephalometric and panoramic x-rays, digital photos and study models, help your orthodontist determine what treatment needs to be done.
  • Quad Helix

    Palatal Expander

    A palatal expander, also known as a rapid palatal expander, rapid maxillary expansion appliance, palate expander or orthodontic expander, is used to widen the upper jaw so that the bottom and upper teeth will fit together better.
  • Panoramic X-Ray

    Panoramic X-Ray

    A x-ray taken by a machine that rotates around your head to give your orthodontist a picture of your teeth, jaws and other important information.
  • Pendex

    The Pendex is a fixed appliance that rests along the roof of your mouth and is attached with bands to the molars. It is used for a Class II malocclusion (the lower teeeth are behind the upper teeth). This appliance is used to expand the upper arch and move the molars towards the back of the mouth.
  • Quad Helix

    Quad Helix

    A Quad Helix (or quadhelix) is an orthodontic appliance for the upper teeth that is cemented in the mouth. It is attached to the molars by 2 bands and has Two or four active helix springs that widen the arch of the mouth to make room for crowded teeth, or correct a posterior cross-bite, where lower teeth are buccal (outer) than upper teeth.
  • Removable Retainer

    Removable Retainer

    A gadget that the orthodontist gives you to wear after your braces are removed. The retainer attaches to your upper and / or lower teeth and holds them in the correct position while your jaw hardens and your teeth get strongly attached to your jaw. At first, you wear the retainer 24 hours a day, and then only at night.
  • Reverse Pull Headgear

    Reverse Pull Headgear

    Reverse pull headgear is usually used in children with a Class III malocclusion or a malocclusion requiring a stimulation of the upper maxilla to grow forward.
  • Rubber Bands

    Rubber Bands

    During various phases of treatment, small elastics or rubber bands are used as a gentle but continuous force to help individual tooth movement or the aligning of jaws.
  • Schwarz


    A functional appliance used to expand the upper dental arch by stimulating growth of the bone in width. Once widened, the suture knits together. The Schwarz appliance is only prescribed prior to completion of growth. It is adjusted daily as instructed until the palate has been widened enough. It is then left in place for about four months without further adjustment while the bone fills the center palatal suture or healing occurs.
  • Separators


    Separators are tiny rubber bands or springs that your orthodontist places between your back teeth. These separators prepare your mouth for braces by creating a small gap between these teeth. This space allows for the placement of a metal band around your molar, which anchors your braces in your mouth.
  • Spring Aligner

    Spring Aligner

    An appliance that can be used on both arches for minor rotation and correction of anterior alignment.
  • Surgery


    Orthognathic surgery is surgery performed on the bones of the jaws to change their positions. It may be considered for functional, cosmetic, or health reasons. It is surgery commonly performed on the jaws in conjunction with orthodontic treatment, which straightens the teeth.
  • Transpalatal Bar

    Transpalatal Bar

    The Transpalatal Bar (TPA) is a fixed appliance that is attached to bands on the upper molar teeth. The bar that sits across the roof of the palate fits into a soldered clip located on the bands.
  • Thumb Crib

    Thumb Crib

    This simple device given to address severe thumb/finger sucking habit. It involves using a wire crib attached to two back braces and fixed.
  • Two-Phase Treatment

    Two-Phase Treatment

    Two phase orthodontic treatment is a very specialized process that encompasses tooth straightening and physical, facial changes. The major advantage of a two-phase treatment is to maximize the opportunity to accomplish the ideal healthy, functional, and esthetic result that will remain stable throughout your life.
  • wax


    A clear wax used to prevent your braces from irritating your lips or cheeks when your braces are first put on, or at other times.