Ortho Dictionary

Parts of Braces

Appliance: Anything your orthodontist attaches to your teeth which moves your teeth or changes the shape of your jaw.
Arch wire: The metal wire that acts as a track to guide your teeth along as they move. It is changed periodically throughout treatment as your teeth move to their new positions.
Band: A metal ring that is cemented to your tooth and goes completely around your tooth. Bands provide a way to attach brackets to your teeth.
Bond: The seal created by orthodontic cement that holds your appliances in place.
Bracket: A metal or ceramic part cemented (“bonded”) to your tooth that holds your arch wire in place.
Coil Spring: A spring that fits between your brackets and over your arch wire to open or close space between your teeth.
Elastic (Rubber Band): A small rubber band that is hooked between different points on your appliance to provide pressure to move your teeth to their new position.
Functional Appliance: A device that utilizes the muscle action produced when speaking, eating and swallowing to move your teeth and align your jaws.   Functional appliances may be removable or attached to your teeth.
Hook: A welded or removable arm to which elastics or springs are attached.
Ligature: A thin wire that holds your arch wire into your bracket.
Lip Bumper: An arch wire attached to a molded piece of plastic. The lip bumper holds back the molars on your lower jaw to provide more space for your other teeth.
Mouth guard: A device that protects your mouth from injury when you participate in sports or rigorous activities.
Palatal Expander: An appliance that makes your upper jaw wider by putting gentle pressure on upper molars each time an adjustment is made.
Retainer: A removable or fixed appliance that is worn after your braces are removed. The retainer attaches to your upper and/or lower teeth to hold them in place.
Separator (or Spacer): A small rubber ring or metal spring that creates space between your teeth before the bands are attached.
Wax: Wax is used to stop your braces from irritating your lips.

Orthodontic Procedures

Banding: The process of fitting and cementing orthodontic bands to your teeth.
Bonding: The process of attaching brackets to your teeth using special orthodontic cement.
Cephalometic X-ray: An x-ray of your head which shows the relative positions and growth of the face, jaws, and teeth.
Consultation: A meeting with your orthodontist to discuss a treatment plan.
Debanding: The process of removing cemented orthodontic bands from your teeth.
Debonding: The process of removing cemented orthodontic brackets from your teeth.
Impressions: The process of making a model of your teeth by biting into a soft material that hardens into a mold of your teeth. Your orthodontist will use these impressions to prepare your treatment plan.
Invisalign®: An alternative to traditional braces, Invisalign straightens your teeth with a series of clear custom-molded aligners. Invisalign can correct some, but not all, orthodontic problems.
Ligation: The process of attaching an arch wire to the brackets on your teeth.
Lingual Braces: braces that attach comfortably behind your teeth.
Panoramic X-ray: An x-ray that rotates around your head to take pictures of your teeth, jaw and other facial areas.