Orthodontic Dictionary

Anterior Teeth: the lower front and upper front teeth on the upper and lower arches

Appliance: Any orthodontic device that helps to align or retain the alignment of teeth.

Arch: The upper or lower jaw bones and their allotted teeth

Archwire: this is the wire that is used with braces that guides the teeth through alignment by tightening it up every few weeks.

Band with bracket: These are the bands that are typically used in the back teeth that are cemented into the back teeth.

Braces: appliances that are fixed that work very efficiently to align crooked teeth for perfect smiles.

Brackets: These are the tiny brackets that are used on each tooth when you have braces.

Brushing: like using a toothbrush to clean your teeth, this is a very important aspect of home dental care and orthodontics in that it’s important to brush after every meal and snack when you are wearing braces.

Buccal: The posterior teeth on both the upper and lower arches on the outer cheeks.

Cephalometric Radiograph:  an x-ray that is taken from the side of a head to show development

Chain: This is what is used to help stabilize the archwire while wearing braces, and are placed around the brackets.

Class I Malocclusion: minor problem with misalignment that can be fixed pretty easily through orthodontal care

Class II Malocclusion: this is another word for an overbite in which the front upper teeth jut out further than the lower arch.

Class III Malocclusion: This is another word for an underbite in which the lower arch juts out much further than the upper arch teeth.

Closed bite: This is what happens when your front teeth overlap your bottom teeth causing deep overbite problems

Congenitally Missing Teeth: This is what happens when your adult teeth don’t develop correctly due to some genetic problem

Crossbite: This is what happens when some of your upper teeth jut out further than your lower arch and some of your upper teeth bite down behind your lower arch at the same time.

De-banding: This is the term for when your bands are removed from your teeth.

De-bonding: This is the term for when you actually remove the brackets from braces from a patient’s teeth

Diagnostic records: This is the set of records that are used to treat patients, and these records are used in all phases of the procedure and include a whole bunch of test records

Digital Radiograph: This is an x-ray of teeth that can be stored and viewed in a computer.

Elastics: Sometimes people with braces need to also have elastic bands attached to the braces to give a little bit more pressure to the teeth.

Eruption: this is the phrase for how teeth will come out of the gums when they are first sprouting in children’s mouths.

Fixed Orthodontic appliances: This is the term for all of the appliances that are stuck in a patient’s mouth and can’t be removed without the help of an orthodontist.

Flossing: A big part of home oral care that helps remove plaque and tarter from in between your teeth.

Functional Appliances: This is when an appliance uses the natural movements of the mouth like chewing and swallowing to help realign teeth and jaw bones.

Gingival: This is another term for your gums and tissue surrounding your teeth.

Headgear: This is a form of removable appliance that helps with realignment of teeth and has an archwire that is external and works really efficiently.

Impressions: This is what helps the orthodontist to see what the bite marks and teeth formations are like in patient.

Interceptive Treatment: this is for adults who have a mixture of baby and adult teeth in their mouths.

Invisalign: A really revolutionary form of orthodontic alignment in which transparent alignment trays are used to realign someone’s teeth, and these are removable.

Ligating modules: This is a piece of elastic ring that secures the wire to a bracket

Ligation: the process of securing wire to brackets within the braces procedure.

Lingual side: Another way of saying the back of the teeth that isn’t visible to people

Malocclusion: means ‘bad bite’ in Latin and refers to anything that can include a dental ailment that requires realignment.

Mandible: another term for the lower jaw bone

Maxilla: a scientific term for the upper jaw bone.

Mouth guard: this is a piece of plastic that is used to protect teeth and braces from biting down during sleep and during sports

Open bite: This is a strange bite in which the upper and lower teeth can’t actually contact one another meaning that patient can’t chew very well at all.

Orthodontics: This is the unique part of the dental field that helps to fix misalignments and jaw irregularities

Orthodontist: This is a dentist who has done extra studying and is the person who diagnoses and treats all forms of jaw problems as well as gives people braces and fixes all types of misalignments

Palatal Expander: A device that can be either fixed or removable that expands the palate

Panoramic Radiograph:  An x-ray that is external and functions to show teeth and jaws

Plaque: this is a film of food particles and bacteria that builds up in teeth if you don’t take care of them and is a leading cause of tooth decay and gum disease.

Posterior Teeth: this is a scientific term for your back teeth.

Removable Appliance: This is any type of orthodontic appliance that a patient can take out of their mouths whenever they want to, and needs to be worn an adequate amount of time each day.

Separators: This is the thing that works to create room for more bands and braces and technically is an elastic ring

Space Maintainer: this is something that is used when a baby tooth is lost too early and you need to keep the allotted space maintained until the adult tooth emerges.

Wax: this is what a lot of patients use to relieve pain and irritations from wearing braces.

Wires: This is what is attached to the brackets of braces.