Appliance – Any item that is attached to the teeth by the orthodontist to move the teeth or change the shape of the jaw.
Arch Wire – A metal wire attached to your brackets to move the teeth.
Band – A metal ring placed on the teeth to hold parts of the braces.
Bracket – Metal or ceramic part that is glued onto a tooth and serves as a means of fastening the arch wire.
Breakaway – A small plastic piece with an internal summer used to provide force on a facebow.
Buccal Tube – Small metal part that is welded to the outside of a molar bank and contains a slot to hold archwires, lip bumpers and facebows.
Orthodontic Chain – Stretchable plastic chain used to hold archwires into brackets.
Facebow and Headgear – A facebow is a wire apparatus used to move upper molars back to make room for crowded front teeth. Headgear is the part of the total apparatus.
Ligating Module – Small plastic piece that is used to hold the arch wires in the brackets on the teeth.
Lip Bumper – Used to push the molars on the lower jaw back to create more space for other teeth.
Mouthguard – A device used to protect the mouth from injury during sports activities.
Neck Pad – Used in conjunction with the facebow.
Palatal Expander – Device used to make the jaw wider.
Retainer – Used while sleeping after braces are removed to ensure that none of the teeth move while the jaw hardens.
Separator – A plastic or metal part that is used to create space between the teeth for bands.
Wax – Used to prevent the braces from irritating the lips.
Acid Etch – Weak acid is smeared on the teeth to make them ready for brackets and to help the brackets stay on better.
Banding – Process of cementing bands to the teeth.
Bonding – Process of attaching brackets to the teeth using a special glue.
Cephalometric X-rays – A head X-ray that shows if the teeth are aligned properly and if they are growing correctly.
Consultation – A meeting with the orthodontist to discuss the treatment plan.
Debanding – Removal of cemented orthodontic bands.
Debonding – Removal of the brackets from the teeth.
Impressions – Making a mold of the teeth. A bite impression is taken in a container filled with a substance that hardens to produce a mold of the teeth.
Interceptive Orthodontic Treatment – Usually performed when a child is 6-8 years of age to expand the palate and make other necessary corrections. This makes future orthodontic treatment go much quicker and less painful.
Ligation – Process where an archwire is attached to the brackets on the teeth.
Ligating – Components used to attach archwires to brackets.
Records Appointment – An initial appointment to determine what treatment needs to be done. X-rays, pictures of the individual and impressions are usually performed.
Tightening The Braces – Process which usually occurs every 3-6 weeks. Adjustments are made to the wires in the braces or the wires are changed.
Wax Bite – Biting on a sheet of wax to determine how well your teeth come together.
Additional Orthodontic Terms
Archform – The shape of the dental arch.
Closed Bite – During the biting process where upper teeth cover lower teeth.
Cross Bite – During the biting process, some of the upper teeth are inside the lower teeth.
Crowding – Having too many teeth in too small a space.
Crown Angulation – Tooth movement where the root of the tooth is tipped forward or backward to correct the angle of the crown.
Crown Inclination – Tooth movement where the root of the tooth is tipped toward the cheeks, lips or toward the palate of the mouth.
Deep Bite – Excessive overbite.
Interproximal Stripping – Reduction of the enamel on the tooth to create space for crowded teeth.
Malocclusion – Poor positioning of the teeth.
Class I Malocclusion – A condition where the bite is okay, but teeth are crooked, crowded or turned.
Class II Malocclusion – A condition where upper teeth stick out past your lower teeth. This is also called "overbite" or "buck teeth."
Class III Malocclusion – A condition where lower teeth stick out past the upper teeth. Also called an "underbite."