Archwire: A wire engaged in orthodontic attachments, affixed to the crowns of two or more teeth and capable of causing or guiding tooth movement

band (orthodontic): A thin metal ring, usually stainless steel, which serves to secure orthodontic attachments to a tooth. The band, with orthodontic attachments welded or soldered to it, is closely adapted to fit the contours of the tooth and then cemented into place.

Bracket: An orthodontic attachment that is secured to a tooth (either by bonding or banding) for the purpose of engaging an archwire. Brackets can be fabricated from metal, ceramic or plastic.

Ceramic brackets: Crystalline, alumina, tooth-shade or clear synthetic sapphire brackets that are aesthetically more attractive than conventional metal attachments.

Crowding: Dental malalignment caused by inadequate space for the teeth.

Debanding: The removal of cemented orthodontic bands.

Elastics (rubber bands): Used to move teeth in prescribed direction (commonly connected to molar band and upper ball hook). Found in numerous colors for better appearance.

Gingival: The tissue that surrounds the teeth, consisting of a fibrous tissue that is continuous with the periodontal ligament and mucosal covering.

Headgear: Generic term for extraoral traction (attached around the back side of the head) for growth modification, tooth movement and anchorage.

Lingual:Of or pertaining to the tongue. A term used to describe surfaces and directions toward the tongue.

Maxillary: Of or pertaining to the upper jaw. May be used to describe teeth, dental restorations, orthodontic appliances or facial structures.

Orthodontist: A dental specialist who has completed an advanced post-doctoral course, accredited by the American Dental Association, of at least two academic years in the special area of orthodontics.

Orthognathic surgery: Surgery to alter relationships of teeth >>complished in conjunction with orthodontic therapy.

Overbite: Vertical overlapping of upper teeth over lower teeth, usually measured perpendicular to the occlusal plane.

Retainer: Any orthodontic appliance, fixed or removable, used to maintain the position of the teeth.

Retention: The passive treatment period following active orthodontic correction during which retaining appliances may be used.

separator (spacer): Small elastics that fit snugly between certain teeth to move them slightly so bands can be placed around them later.

tie wire: A very small, thin wire that is twisted around a bracket to hold the archwire in place.

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

Orthodontic Procedures

banding: Cementing orthodontic bands to the teeth.

bonding: Cementing orthodontic brackets to the teeth.

Cephalometic X-ray: An X-ray that depicts the relative growth of your face, jaws and teeth.

consultation: Usually the first visit with an orthodontist where you discuss potential treatment options.

debanding: The removal of cemented orthodontic bands.

debonding: The removal of cemented orthodontic brackets.

impressions: Made by biting into a soft substance that will later harden into a mold of your bite. Impressions help the orthodontist diagnose your orthodontic needs and create a customized treatment plan made specifically for you.

Invisalign®: A modern alternative to traditional braces, the Invisalign system straightens your teeth using a series of clear, customized removable appliances called aligners. Invisalign can correct some orthodontic problems, but not severe problems.

ligation: Attaching an archwire to the brackets.

Panoramic X-ray: A full-head X-ray taken by a machine that rotates 360 degrees around your head. This X-ray shows your face, jaws and teeth.