Orthodontic Terms & Dictionary

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Orthodontic Terms Explained

Here are some common terms you may hear throughout your smile journey and what they mean.

Appliance

A device that assists in the straightening of teeth. Examples are braces, Invisalign, and retainers

Archwire

The wire that extends through each bracket slot in braces

Band

A metal device that wraps around the tooth to hold a bracket or tube in place

Bite Turbo

A small orthodontic device placed on the back of the upper front teeth to prevent full closure of the teeth. This protects the lower braces from being damaged by the bite.

Bonding

The technique of attaching an orthodontic device directly to the enamel of the tooth with the use of adhesive

Bracket

The metal device (also referred to as a brace) for fastening the archwire to the tooth or band

Coil Spring

A spring that fits between the bracket and the archwire to open space between teeth

Elastic

A small rubber band that attaches to the braces to exert forces on teeth to facilitate movement

Elastic Tie

A small rubber band that encircles the bracket to seat the archwire in the bracket slot

Forsus

A device used to improve the placement of the bite or jaw

Herbst Appliance

A device that corrects overbite by holding the lower jaw in a protrusive position

Hook

A small device to which elastics or other auxiliary devices are attached

iBraces

A type of braces that are placed behind teeth so that no one can see them. Also known as Incognito braces.

Invisalign

A type of treatment that uses a series of clear plastic aligners, similar to clear retainers, to gradually move teeth

Ligature

A wire used to tie a tooth to an orthodontic appliance or another tooth

Mouth Guard

A tooth or gum shield worn by patients (athletes) to prevent injuries

Palatal Expander

A device used to widen the upper jaw so that the upper and lower teeth will fit together

Retainer

A device, usually made of plastic and wires, to hold teeth in position after treatment

Separator

A device or instrument designed to wedge teeth apart, particularly teeth in tight contact. Frequently used for the examination of proximal surfaces, finishing a restoration or before banding

Wax

A soft, malleable substance placed on brackets to prevent rubbing or irritation

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