Glossary

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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.

crowding

Dental malalignment caused by inadequate space for the teeth.

debanding

The removal of cemented orthodontic bands.

elastics (rubber bands)

Used to move teeth in prescribed direction (commonly connected to molar band and upper ball hook).

gingiva

The tissue that surrounds the teeth, consisting of a fibrous tissue that is continuous with the periodontal ligament and mucosal covering.

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.

imaging

The process of acquiring representations of structures in two dimensions.

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

Of or pertaining to the tongue. A term used to describe surfaces and directions toward the tongue.

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.

orthodontist

A dental specialist who has completed an advanced post-doctoral course, accredited by the American Dental Association, of at least two academic years in the special area of orthodontics.

orthognathic surgery

Surgery to alter relationships of teeth and/or supporting bones, usually accomplished in conjunction with orthodontic therapy.

overbite

Vertical overlapping of upper teeth over lower teeth, usually measured perpendicular to the occlusal plane.

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.

retention

The passive treatment period following active orthodontic correction during which retaining appliances may be used.

separator (spacer)

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

straight wire appliance

A variation of the edgewise appliance in which brackets are angulated to minimize multiple archwire bends. Brackets and molar tubes have specific orientation in three planes of space.

wax

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