Orthodontic Dictionary

Choose a glossary:

Braces and orthodontic treatment involve a specialized vocabulary. Here’s a helpful list of terms to enhance your understanding:

Parts of Braces

  • Appliance: Anything attached to your teeth by your orthodontist to move teeth or change jaw shape.
  • Archwire: A metal wire guiding your teeth during treatment, changed periodically as your teeth shift.
  • Band: A metal ring encircling your tooth, used to attach brackets.
  • Bond: The seal made of orthodontic cement holding your appliances in place.
  • Bracket: Metal or ceramic part bonded to your tooth to secure the archwire.
  • Coil Spring: A spring positioned between brackets and over the archwire to create space between teeth.
  • Elastic (Rubber Band): A small band linked between points on your appliance to apply pressure, moving your teeth.
  • Elastic Tie: A tiny rubber band encircling your bracket, securing the archwire; available in various colors.
  • Headgear: External apparatus using a facebow to guide face and jaw growth, gently aligning teeth.
  • Headgear Tube: Round attachment on back bands where the inner bow of your headgear fits.
  • Hook: A welded or removable arm for attaching elastics.
  • Ligature: Thin wire keeping the archwire in your bracket.
  • Lip Bumper: Archwire attached to plastic, holding back lower jaw molars to create space.
  • Mouthguard: Protective device for sports or physical activities.
  • Palatal Expander: Device widening your upper jaw.
  • Retainer: Worn post-braces removal to maintain teeth alignment; can be removable or bonded.
  • Separator or Spacer: Small rubber ring creating space between teeth before band placement.
  • Tie Wire: Fine wire twisted around your bracket to secure the archwire.
  • Wax: Used to prevent braces from irritating your lips.

Orthodontic Procedures

  • Banding: Fitting and cementing orthodontic bands to your teeth.
  • Bonding: Attaching brackets to your teeth using special orthodontic cement.
  • Cephalometric X-ray: Head X-ray displaying facial, jaw, and teeth positions and growth.
  • Consultation: Meeting with your orthodontist to discuss your treatment plan.
  • Debanding: Removing cemented orthodontic bands from your teeth.
  • Debonding: Removing cemented orthodontic brackets from your teeth.
  • Impressions: Mouth mold created by biting into a soft material, aiding treatment planning.
  • Invisalign®: Alternative to traditional braces, using clear, custom-molded aligners for teeth straightening.
  • Ligation: Attaching an archwire to brackets on your teeth.
  • Panoramic X-ray: X-ray rotating around your head, capturing teeth, jaw, and facial areas.
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