Glossary

appliance

Any fixed or removable device that moves your teeth or corrects your bite.

archwire

The wire tied into the braces which aligns the teeth.

band

A thin metal ring, usually stainless steel, which serves to secure the brace to a tooth. The band is closely adapted to fit the contours of the tooth which leads to a more secure bracket.

bracket

An orthodontic attachment made of metal and ceramic that is glued to the tooth. The archwire is then tied into a slot in the bracket.  Ceramic brackets are aesthetically more attractive than conventional metal brackets, however can be mechanically less efficient.

coil spring

The coil spring fits between brackets and around the archwire commonly used to hold or open space.

debonding

The removal of cemented orthodontic appliances.

elastics (rubber bands)

A tiny rubber ring that attaches to hooks on the brackets to aid in tooth movement and/or bite correction.

elastic ties

A tiny rubber ring that ties the archwire into the bracket. Found in numerous colors for better appearance.

fixed retainer

A glued in 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.

Herbst appliance

A glued in device allowing cooperation independent bite correction.

impressions

An imprint or mold of the teeth used to create a model of your teeth.  These are used for treatment planning or making an orthodontic appliance. With a digital scanner in the office, the need for impressions is reduced while still being able to have a 3D representation of the mouth. 

interceptive treatment/Phase I 

Interceptive treatment refers to limited orthodontic therapy aimed at correcting significant dental/skeletal issues in the mixed dentition. Definitive objectives are stated and achieved in a relatively short time (3-12 months depending on the issues at hand). One important objective not achieved in phase I treatment is the ideal alignment of the full permanent dentition as not all those teeth will not all be present at. that are not best deferred until the full permanent dentition is present. 

mandibular

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

maxillary

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

mixed dentition

In the early mixed dentition (about age 7) the permanent first molars and permanent front teeth begin to erupt into the mouth. There is then a quiet period prior to the remaining baby teeth exfoliating and the adult teeth come in. This transitional period contains a mix of baby and adult teeth.

mouthguard

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

palatal expander

The palatal expander is used to create a wider transverse space in the upper jaw.  This appliance is attached to the upper teeth through cemented bands.

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.

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.