Choose a glossary:
Appliance: Anything your orthodontist attaches to your teeth which moves your teeth or changes the shape of your jaw (i.e. braces, expander, space maintainer).
Archwire: 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 back teeth, going completely around it.
Bond: The seal created by orthodontic cement that holds your appliances in place.
Bracket: A metal or ceramic brace cemented (“bonded”) to your tooth that holds your archwire in place.
Coil Spring: A spring that fits between your brackets and over your archwire to open or maintain space between your teeth.
Elastic (Rubber Band): A small rubber band that is hooked between different points on your braces or retainers to provide pressure to move your teeth to their new position.
Elastic Chain: The one-piece rubber tie that fits around each bracket continuously on one arch.
Elastic Tie (O-Ring): The tiny rubber band that fits around your bracket to hold the archwire in place. They come in a variety of colors.
Headgear: Headgear uses an external wire apparatus known as a facebow to gently guide the growth of your face and jaw by moving your teeth into proper position. The force is applied to the facebow by a spring-loaded neck strap or head strap. The straps have a safety release that disconnects if the facebow is pulled or snagged.
Headgear Tube: A round, hollow attachment on your molar bands. The inner bow of your headgear fits into it.
Hook: A welded or removable arm to which elastics or chains are attached.
Ligature Tie: A thin wire that holds your archwire into your bracket.
Mouthguard: A device that protects your mouth from injury when you participate in sports or rigorous activities. There are mouthguards made to fit people with braces.
Palatal Expander: A device that makes your upper jaw wider.
Retainer: A removable appliance that is worn typically 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 that creates space between your teeth 1 to 2 weeks before the bands are attached.
Wax: Removable wax is used to help prevent lip and cheek irritation from your braces.
Banding: The process of fitting and cementing orthodontic bands and braces to your teeth.
Cephalometic X-ray: An x-ray of your head which shows the relative positions and growth of the face, jaws, and teeth.<
Consultation: The first meeting with your orthodontist to discuss a treatment plan.
Debanding: The process of removing cemented orthodontic bands and braces from your teeth.
Impression: The process of making a model of your teeth by biting into a soft material that hardens into a mold of your teeth.
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 and is not appropriate for all ages.
Panoramic X-ray: An x-ray that rotates around your head to take pictures of your teeth, jaw, and other facial areas.