Glossary
You Can Find Everything Teeth & Braces Below
12 year molar

Another name for your second molar.

6 year molar

Another name for your first molar.

Active

Treatment – The time while a patient is wearing braces.

Adhesive

Bonding paste.

Alastics

These are small rings or colored modules used to attach the arch wire to the brackets.

Alginate

A plaster like compound used to take impressions.

Anterior Teeth

Your centrals, laterals, and cuspids. These are the teeth in the front of your mouth.

Appliance

Anything the orthodontists attaches to your teeth to move your teeth or to change the shape of your jaw.

Arch

Collectively, either the teeth or the basal bone of either jaw.

Arch Wire

A metal wire that is attached to your brackets to move your teeth.

Band

Thin contoured bands of metal that fit around the teeth and are cemented into place. In most cases; bands are used in the molar areas.

Brackets

A metal or ceramic part that is glued onto a tooth and serves as ameans of fastening the arch wire in order to reposition the tooth, corrected rotation and correct the bite.

Bruxism

Clenching or grinding of your teeth especially at night.

Calculus

A hard deposit that forms when you do not brush your teeth so the plaque hardens. Calculus is also known as tartar.

Caries

Another name for cavities (tooth decay).

Cavity

A small hole in one of your teeth caused by tooth decay.

Cephalometric X-Rays

An x-ray of the head that shows whether your teeth are aligned properly, and whether they are growing properly.

Chain, Orthodontic Chain

A stretchable elastic chain used to hold archwires into brackets and to close space by moving teeth together.

Cheek Retractors

Small plastic pieces used to draw back your lips and cheeks so the orthodontist can move more easily see your teeth and work in your mouth.

Class I Malocclusion

A malocclusion where your bite is OK (your top teeth line up with your bottom teeth) but your teeth are crooked, crowded or turned.

Cross Bite

A malocclusion where some of your upper teeth are inside your lower teeth when you bite down.

Crowding

An orthodontic problem caused insufficient jaw space to accommodate all the teeth.

Debonding

Debonding – The removal of braces.

Impressions

The first step in making a model of your teeth. You bite into a container filled with alginate, and the alginate hardens to produce a mold of your teeth.

Malocclusion

Poor positioning of your teeth.

Occlusion

The relationship between masticating (chewing) surfaces of the maxillary (upper) and mandibular (lower) teeth when they are in contact.

Open Bite

A malocclusion in which the teeth do not close or come together in the front of your mouth.

Orthodontics

The treatment performed to correct your bite and make your smile look wonderful.

Overbite

Vertical overlapping of the upper teeth over the lower.

Overjet

Horizontal projection of the upper teeth beyond the lower.

Palatal Expander

A device used to make your jaw wider.

Panoramic X-ray

An x-ray taken by a machine that rotates around your head to give the orthodontist a picture of your teeth, jaws and other important information.

Primary Teeth

The first set of teeth which come in. Primary teeth are also called “baby teeth” or deciduous teeth.

Proper Occlusion

A beautiful smile where all of your teeth are straight and your top teeth line up with your bottom teeth.

Records Appointment

One of the initial appointments with your orthodontist. The orthodontist or his/her assistant takes pictures, x-rays and impressions of you so that they can figure out what treatment needs to be done.

Removable Appliance

An appliance that can be removed and replaced by the patient.

Retainer

A gadget that the orthodontist gives you to wear after the removal of your braces.

Separator

A plastic or metal part that the orthodontist uses to create space between your teeth for bands.

Space Maintainer

A gadget used to maintain a space in your mouth. You would use a space maintainer when you lose one of your baby teeth. The space maintainer will keep a space in your mouth until a permanent tooth comes in to fill the space.

Tie Wire

A wire that is tied around the bracket to secure the arch wire. These are stainless steel not rubber, steel ties.

Tightening Your Braces

A process, which occurs every 4 – 10 weeks (depending on the orthodontist) when you have braces. You go into the orthodontist’s office and the orthodontist makes adjustments to the wires in your braces, or changes the wires.