Archwire: The wire that attaches to brackets and moves teeth. This wire will be gradually tightened over the course of the treatment.
Band (Orthodontic): Stainless steel bands molded around a tooth and are cemented in place. Wires are typically attached to these bands.
Bracket: Devices that connect the archwire to the tooth and keep it in place. They can be made of ceramic, plastic, or metal.
Ceramic Brackets: White, clear, or tooth-colored brackets. These are less noticeable than metal brackets, but they can be more expensive and can stain if they are not cleaned properly.
Crowding: Tooth crowding happens when there isn’t enough room for all of the teeth to line up evenly. Twisted or overlapping teeth can be the result. A combination of large teeth and small jaws typically cause overcrowding.
Debanding: The term used to describe the removal of braces after the treatment is over.
Elastics: Also known as “rubber bands,” these small attachments are connected to small hooks on the top braces and to the metal bands around the molars. Elastics must be worn at all times for a successful result.
Gingiva: Another term to describe gum tissue. Gingiva contains a fibrous tissue that holds the teeth and connects the mucosal covering to the periodontal ligament.
Headgear: Forces tooth growth and anchoring by surrounding a patient’s head and attaches to his or her teeth. Headgear is removable and is typically worn for 12 hours a day.
Herbst Appliance: A flexible metal tube that connects the upper molars to the lower molars in an effort to correct an overbite.
Imaging: Technological tools used by orthodontists to obtain 2D or 3D pictures of teeth and jaw structure.
Lingual: Relating to the tongue and the side of the teeth that touch the tongue.
Lingual Appliances: Any attachments to the lingual surface of teeth, including braces that are placed on the inside of the teeth.
Maxillary: Relating to the upper jaw.
Orthodontist: A specialist in the field of dentistry who is trained to correct misaligned teeth and/or jaws.
Orthognathic Surgery: A surgical operation that aims to balance the upper and lower jaws.
Overbite: An overbite occurs when the upper jaw juts past the lower jaw and the upper teeth overlap the lower teeth. This can cause the appearance of a recessed chin in patients.
Radiograph: The image that results from an X-ray.
Retainer: A device used to keep teeth from shifting after corrective treatment. Retainers are made of plastic and wire or solid plastic.
Retention: The phase following the removal of braces in which the goal is to keep teeth from shifting.
Straight Wire Appliance: Utilizes brackets that are angular to keep the wire as straight as possible while moving crooked teeth into their proper positions.