Glossary

Acrylic – A plastic used in making expanders, retainers and other dental appliances. Acrylic comes in various colors which you can select for your appliance.

Appliance – A device which attaches to your teeth to help the orthodontist achieve the desired treatment goals. Appliances can be fixed or removable.

Archwire – A metal wire that fits into your brackets and is used to move your teeth. Initial archwires are flexible and become progressively rigid as treatment progresses.

Band – A metal ring that is placed around your back teeth to anchor your braces.

Band Remover – A special plier is used to remove bands from your teeth.

Banding/Bonding – The process of cementing orthodontic appliances to your teeth.

Biteplate – A removable appliance made of acrylic and wire designed to either redirect the vertical eruption pattern of the teeth or reduce night-time habits such as clenching or grinding your teeth.

Bite Stick – An instrument used to help fit bands over your teeth.

Bracket – A small metal or ceramic attachment that is bonded on the tooth and serves as a means of holding the archwire in place.

Cephalometric X-Ray – An x-ray of the head that allows the orthodontist to measure tooth and jaw alignment in two planes of space.

Cheek retractors – A flexible plastic device used to retract your lips and cheeks away from your teeth to help facilitate the placement of orthodontic appliances.

Curing Light – A special light used to rapidly dry orthodontic cement and attach appliances to your teeth.

Debanding/Debonding – The removal of cemented orthodontic appliances.

Face Mask – This is a part-time appliance that is worn inside the house and to bed every night. This appliance is used in patients with unbalanced jaw growth with the lower jaw outgrowing the upper jaw. The younger the patient is when the face mask is used, the better the orthopedic correction that can be made in the shortest amount of time.

Headgear – This is a part-time appliance that is worn inside the house and to bed every night. It is used in patients who have unbalanced jaw growth with the upper jaw outgrowing the lower jaw. This appliance slows down the forward growth of the upper jaw and allows the lower jaw to catch up. This appliance is usually used in a growing patient around the time they are reaching their pre-pubertal growth spurt.

Impressions – This in the first step in making a model of your teeth. A tray with soft impression material is placed over the teeth and the impression material hardens, thereby producing an imprint of the teeth. This impression material can be flavored to your liking and sets within 15 – 20 seconds.

Interproximal Reduction – A procedure to remove some of the enamel from between your teeth. This procedure helps create space to relieve crowding and align the teeth.

Lip bumper – This appliance is used frequently in Phase I treatment to gradually widen the lower jaw and allow for dental crowding to be resolved by uprighting the lower dental segments.

Palatal Expander – The palatal expander is an appliance used to gradually widen the upper jaw. This appliance is bonded to the upper teeth and has a screw in the middle for widening. In growing patients this is a simple, pain-less procedure that can create a fuller smile and allow for dental crowding to be resolved.

Panoramic x-ray
– An x-ray taken by a machine that rotates around your head. This gives the orthodontist a picture of all your teeth, your jaw joints, sinuses and other important information.

Phase I (Interceptive) Orthodontic Treatment – This orthodontic treatment is usually done when patients are still in the early mixed dentition stage (approximately ages 7 – 10 years of age). The objective of Phase I treatment is to correct some of the more severe problems early so that later comprehensive orthodontic treatment (Phase II) is less complicated and, in some cases, shorter in duration.

Power chain – A stretchable elastic module that ties some or all of the teeth in one dental arch together. It is used to hold the archwire in the brackets and close spaces or move teeth as a group.

Records appointment – One of the initial appointments with your orthodontist where digital photos, x-rays and impressions are taken to help diagnose your dental problems and determine your treatment plan.

Retainer – A removable or fixed appliance used to keep the teeth in their corrected position while the bone and soft tissue structures remodel to adjust to the new position of the teeth.

Separator (Spacer) – A small elastic module that is placed in-between the teeth to create space for the orthodontist to fit bands over the back teeth or perform interproximal reduction. They usually remain in place for 7 – 10 days.

Treatment Discussion – A conference between the patient and the orthodontist where the treatment plan and financial arrangements can be discussed prior to beginning treatment.

Wax – Can be placed over any part of the appliance that feels rough to the intra-oral soft tissues. It is used to smooth out any areas on the appliances that may be causing sore spots.