Glossary

appliance

Any device that is attached to your teeth that moves your teeth or corrects your bite.

archwire

The wire that is tied or attached to the braces or bands. The wire guides the direction of tooth movement.

band (orthodontic)

A thin metal ring made of stainless steel that securely holds a wire, elastic or other device. The band is closely adapted to fit the contours of the tooth and then cemented into place.

bracket

A bracket is another term for an orthodontic brace.  Brackets are made of ceramic or metal and 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

Clear or tooth-color braces that are stain resistant and aesthetically more attractive than conventional metal attachments.

chain

An elastic chain is stretched across the archwire and used to slide teeth and close spaces.

coil spring

The coil spring fits between brackets and over the archwire. It is used to push teeth or open up space for crowded teeth.

debanding

The removal of cemented orthodontic bands.

elastics (rubber bands)

A tiny rubber ring that ties the wire to the brace. You pick a color and can change color it at every appointment.

fixed retainer

A semi-permanent retainer that is bonded to the tongue side of the front teeth to hold tooth positions after braces.

habit appliance

An appliance designed to deter thumb/finger sucking or tongue thrusting habits.

headgear or night brace

Worn only at night. An orthopedic brace that wraps around the neck and attaches to bands in the mouth. Used for growth modification of the jaws to correct overbites and underbites.

impressions

An imprint or mold of the teeth used to create a digital or physical model of the teeth for planning or making an appliance like a retainer.

interceptive treatment

Interceptive treatment, also known as early treatment, is limited orthodontic treatment usually performed between the ages of 6 and 9. This phase of treatment makes future orthodontic treatment less complicated.

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.

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.

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.