Glossary

appliance

A fixed or removable device that is inserted on your mouth to help move your teeth or correct your bite.

archwire

A wire that is inserted into the slot of the braces that guides the directions of tooth movement.

band (orthodontic)

A thin stainless steel ring around a tooth that secures a brace to that same tooth.

bracket

An orthodontic attachment made of metal or ceramic that holds the archwire in its slot. Brackets may be attached directly to each tooth or to a band.

ceramic brackets

Crystalline, alumina, tooth shaded brackets that are harder to discern when placed on the tooth.

chain

An elastic chain that is used to hold the archwires onto the brackets.

coil spring

A coiled piece of wire that fits between brackets to open space or over archwires to close space.

debanding

The removal of cemented orthodontic bands.

elastics (rubber bands)

A small rubber circle that connects to braces which allow the teeth to be moved to improve the patient's bite 

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 positions.

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

A fixed appliance designed to help correct the bite of a patient whose upper teeth and/or jaw are too far forward of their lower teeth and/or jaw.

impressions

An imprint or mold of the teeth used to help the orthodontist design your treatment plan or to fabricate a retainer or an appliance.

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 often shorter in duration.

lingual appliances

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

maxillary

Of or pertaining to the upper jaw or teeth.

mandibular

Of or pertaining to the lower jaw or teeth

module

A small rubber ring that holds the archwire in the slot of the brace.

mouthguard

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

palatal expander

A fixed appliance attached to the upper molars that allows for widening of 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 rubber elastics that fit snugly between certain teeth to move them apart so that a band can bit fit around the tooth more easily.

wax

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