Anterior Teeth: The top and bottom six front teeth on each arch.
Appliance: Any orthodontic device that moves or retains teeth or alters the positioning of the jaw.
Arch: The entire jaw (upper or lower).
Archwire: The metal wire that connects orthodontic brackets, which directs the teeth into their new alignment.
Band with bracket: Metal bands (rings) that are typically cemented around the back teeth.
Braces: Fixed orthodontic devices created to align teeth.
Brackets: The tiny metal, ceramic or clear brackets that are attached to each individual tooth on the arch.
Brushing: An extremely important part of home dental care. Orthodontists recommend patients with braces to brush after every meal, in order to eliminate bacteria and plaque.
Buccal: The outer (cheek) side of posterior teeth in the top and bottom arches.
Cephalometric Radiograph: A side x-ray of the face and head used to show progression.
Chain: Bands connected together and inserted around the brackets to maintain the archwire and smoothly close spaces.
Class I Malocclusion: There is some spacing or overcrowding problems with the other teeth.
Class II Malocclusion: There is an overbite, which usually occurs when the upper teeth are arranged further than the lower teeth.
Class III Malocclusion: There is an underbite, which usually occurs when the jawbone is large or the maxillary bone is short.
Closed Bite: The top front teeth completely overlap the bottom teeth, leading to a deep overbite.
Congenitally Missing Teeth: Genetic factors cause some permanent teeth fail to develop and erupt.
Crossbite: A type of malocclusion where a tooth (or teeth) has a more buccal or lingual position.
De-banding: The removal of orthodontic bands from the teeth.
De-bonding: The removal of affixed orthodontic brackets from the teeth.
Diagnostic Records: Medical records, dental history, radiographs, panoramic radiographs, bite molds and intraoral/extraoral photographs used to determine, plan and apply treatments.
Digital Radiograph: Digital x-rays of the teeth that can be viewed, stored and addressed via computer.
Elastics: Some braces may require that elastic rubber bands be attached to apply further pressure to tooth/teeth.
Eruption: The process when teeth surface through the gums inside the mouth.
Fixed Orthodontic Appliances: Orthodontic appliances which are attached to the teeth by the orthodontist and cannot be removed by the patient.
Flossing: The removal of debris and plaque from above and below the gumline.
Functional Appliances: Orthodontic appliances that use the muscle movement created by swallowing, eating and speaking to smoothly move and align the teeth and jaws.
Gingiva: The gums and soft tissue that are around the teeth.
Headgear: A removable device comprised of a brace and external archwire, which helps growth and promotes tooth movement.
Impressions: An orthodontist takes teeth impressions to learn exactly how a patient’s teeth fit together.
Interceptive Treatment: Treatment performed on children who have a mixture of adult and baby teeth.
Invisalign®: Removable dental aligner that is completely transparent.
Ligating Modules: An elastic ring that helps secure the archwire to the bracket.
Ligation: Safely securing the archwire to the brackets.
Lingual Side: The side of the teeth that is closest to the tongue.
Malocclusion: Refers to teeth that do not fit together correctly and cause a bad bite.
Mandible: The lower jaw.
Maxilla: The upper jaw.
Mouthguard: A removable plastic or rubber device that protects teeth and braces from sport-related injuries.
Open Bite: Upper and lower teeth fail to make contact with each other. This malocclusion is generally classified as anterior or posterior.
Orthodontics: The unique branch of dentistry focused on diagnosing, preventing and solving malocclusions and jaw irregularities.
Orthodontist: A dental specialist who prevents, diagnoses and treats jaw irregularities and malocclusions. These dentists must enroll in an extended two- or three-year university to gain extensive clinical experience and education.
Palatal Expander: A removable or fixed device designed to expand the palate in order create room on either the upper or lower arch.
Panoramic Radiograph: An extraoral (external) x-ray, which displays the teeth and jaws.
Plaque: The sticky film of saliva, food particles and bacteria that contributes to gum disease and tooth decay.
Posterior Teeth: Back teeth.
Removable Appliance: An orthodontic brace or device that can be removed by the patient. It is only effective if it is worn for the designated amount of time each day.
Separators: A wire loop or elastic ring placed between the teeth to create room for the subsequent placement of bands or orthodontic appliance.
Space Maintainer: A fixed appliance used to hold space for permanent adult tooth. Typically used when a baby tooth has been lost earlier than expected.
Wax: Orthodontic relief wax is a homecare remedy used to alleviate irritations caused by braces.
Wires: Attached to the brackets to gently move the teeth into proper placement.