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This pertains to the front.

This refers to any device that is attached to the teeth to help move the teeth, hold the teeth in their prescribed positions once braces have been removed, or also to keep the jaws in their proper alignment.

This pertains to the lower or upper jaw.

This is the metal wire that is attached to the brackets of braces used to move the teeth.

This refers to the metal ring that is cemented to a tooth to serve as anchorage and to boost strength.

This refers to a fixed orthodontic appliance, typically comprised of brackets, wires, and bands. The parts of the braces are listed below:

  • Archwire β€“ It is tied to all of the brackets and it is designed to move the teeth into proper alignment.
  • Brackets β€“ These are connected to the bands, although in some cases brackets may be directly bonded on the teeth, and keep the archwire securely in place.
  • Ligature β€“The ligature holds the archwire to each bracket. Some orthodontists use a tiny elastic while others opt for a twisted wire.
  • Metal Band β€“ This refers to the cemented ring of metal which wraps around each tooth.

The small attachment can either be made of plastic, ceramic or metal and it is bonded to each tooth using tooth-colored adhesive.

This is part of a person’s daily home dental care. If a patient is wearing braces, his or her orthodontist will give special instructions on how to brush their teeth.

This is a condition characterized by teeth grinding and it often occurs at night. Bruxism can lead to abnormal wear and tear of the teeth as well as trigger pain in the jaw.

This refers to the cheek side of the back teeth.

Buccal Tube
This pertains to the tiny metal part of the bracket bonded to the buccal side of the molar band. It may hold a lip bumper, archwire, headgear facebow or basically any appliance an orthodontist may require to move the teeth.

Cephalometric Radiograph
This pertains to the lateral x-ray of the head (side view).

An elastic series of o-rings linked together and placed around each bracket so that the archwire will be kept in place.

Class I Malocclusion
This type of malocclusion indicates that the teeth are crowded together or spaced apart; it may also refer to overbite, openbite, or crossbite.

Class II Malocclusion
This type of malocclusion indicates that the upper front teeth are protruding or the lower jaw/ lower teeth are positioned back relative to the upper jaw / upper teeth.

Class III Malocclusion
This is a type of malocclusion in which the lower front teeth are protruding or the lower jaw / upper teeth are positioned ahead relative to the upper jaw / upper teeth.

Closed Bite/Deep Bite
Otherwise called deep overbite, a closed bite occurs when the upper front teeth significantly overlap the bottom front teeth.

Comprehensive Treatment
This is a complete treatment plan that is needed to fix a malocclusion.

Congenitally Missing Teeth
This is a hereditary condition in which the expected number of permanent teeth do not develop.

Upper back teeth are in crossbite if they erupt and function outside or inside of the arch in the lower back teeth. Lower front teeth are in crossbite if they function and erupt in front of the upper front teeth. A crossbite can be a single tooth or several teeth.

According to the American Dental Association (ADA), DMD (Doctor of Dental Medicine) and DDS (Doctor of Dental Surgery) are equivalent degrees. All orthodontists who have received education in the United States or Canada will have either a DMD or DDS after their names. Orthodontists, however, have an additional 2-3 years of specialty education to become an orthodontist and they have to be enrolled in an accredited orthodontic residency program.

Diagnostic Records
To be able to properly diagnose and create a treatment plan, the orthodontist will need material and information. These diagnostic records may include a complete patient history, an examination of the teeth, soft tissue and bone supporting the teeth, plaster models of the teeth, intraoral and extraoral photographs, a wax bite registration, and radiographs (panoramic and cephalometric).

Ectopic Eruption
This pertains to a tooth or several teeth that erupt in an atypical position.

This is the process by which teeth grow in the mouth.

This is the procedure for removing teeth.

These pertain to rubber bands which are used during certain stages of treatment to provide jaw alignment or individual tooth movement.

This is a wire appliance that is used with a headgear or nightbrace. A facebow is mainly used to move the upper first molars back, creating room for protrusive or crowded front teeth. It has both an internal and external wire bow. The internal bow links to the buccal tube inside the mouth while the outer bow connects to the nightbrace’s breakaway safety strap.

This is a surgical method designed to get rid of fibers of attachment around the tooth, and it is often recommended to lower the likelihood of relapse or tooth movement after an orthodontic treatment.

Fixed Appliances
This refers to any orthodontic appliance that is cemented or bonded to the teeth and cannot be removed or taken out by the patient.

Just like brushing, flossing is an important part of your daily oral hygiene. Flossing eliminates food debris and plaque between the teeth, as well as in wires and brackets. Flossing keeps gums and teeth healthy and clean during orthodontic treatment.

This is the surgical repositioning or removal of the frenum, which is the lip and tongue attachment found between the lower and upper front teeth. When there is a large frenum attachment it can lead to spacing between the top front teeth or in some cases may even cause a person to be literally tongue-tied.

Functional Appliances
These are appliances that use muscle action such as when a person speaks or eats, in order to produce force to align the jaws and move the teeth. Functional appliances are also referred to as orthopedic appliances. Others refer to these appliances as, activator, bionator, orthopedic corrector, twin block appliances, Frankel or Herbst.

These are the soft tissue around the teeth, better known as gums.

Gummy Smile
When a person has an excessive amount of gum tissue, his smile will be mostly “gummy.”

This is an appliance worn outside of the mouth designed to provide traction for tooth movement and growth modification.

Herbst Appliance
This device is used to push the lower jaw forward. Some Herbst appliances are fixed while others are removable. For a fixed appliance, it is bonded to the teeth in one or both arches with the help of stainless steel crowns.

If a tooth does not erupt fully or does not erupt into the gums at all then it is considered impacted.

Interceptive Treatment
This is an orthodontic treatment that is done to stop a developing problem. Often it is performed on younger patients that have both baby teeth and permanent teeth.

Interproximal Reduction
This is the removal of a tiny amount of enamel from between the teeth.

This pertains to the surface of the teeth in both arches facing the lips.

Ligating Modules
Ligating modules are small o-rings that are elastic and shaped like little donuts. They are used to hold the archwire in place.

This pertains to the tongue side of the teeth.

Lip Bumper
The lip bumper is a wire bow placed inside the mouth and it attaches to the buccal tubes of the lower molar bands. The bow’s front portion has an acrylic bumper or pad that rests against the lower lip. The muscles of the lower lip then apply pressure to the bumper to move the molars back.

Lip Incompetence
If a person’s lips do not fully close together at rest, it is referred to as lip incompetence.

This is a term used to refer to teeth that do not fit together properly.

This pertains to the lower jaw.

This pertains to the upper jaw.

Mixed Dentition
This is the dental developmental phase in kids between the age of 6 and 12, when they have a combination of primary teeth and permanent teeth.

This is a removable device worn during sporting activities to protect the teeth and mouth from injury. It is especially recommended for orthodontic patients.

This is a removable appliance worn during night time to help a person reduce the damage or wear brought about by constant clenching and grinding of teeth during sleep.

Open Bite
This is a kind of malocclusion wherein teeth do not make contact with each other. With a back open bite, the posterior teeth do not touch when the anterior teeth are closed together. With a front open bite, the anterior teeth do not touch when the posterior teeth are closed together.

This is a dentistry specialty concerned with the diagnosis, management, guidance and treatment of malocclusions. Officially, it is called orthodontics and dentofacial orthopedics.

An orthodontist is a specialist in the diagnosis, treatment and prevention of dental and facial abnormalities. They first need to complete college requirements, graduate from a qualified dental school and finish a minimum of two academic years of full-time study in a university with an accredited orthodontic residency program. Orthodontists are focused solely on orthodontic treatment unless they have received education and training in another dental specialty.

Orthopedic Appliance
This is a removable functional appliance intended to guide the growth of the face and jaws.

Panoramic Radiograph
This pertains to an x-ray that shows all of a person’s teeth in one film.

Palatal Expander
This can either be a removable or fixed device that is designed to make the upper jaw wider.

Refers to the soft and hard tissue and any supporting structures around the teeth.

This refers to the sticky film filled with bacteria, saliva and food particles that forms in the mouth. When combined with sugars, plaque will form an acid that damages the teeth and gums leading to gum disease and tooth decay.


Preventive Treatment
This is an orthodontic treatment performed in order to prevent or reduce a developing malocclusion.

Removable Appliance
This pertains to any orthodontic appliance that can be removed by the patient. Removable appliances are used to align jaws, move teeth, and to keep teeth in their new positions after the braces have been removed.

A fixed or removable appliance worn after the braces are removed. A removable retainer attaches to your upper and/or lower teeth and holds them in their finished positions.

Rubber Bands
During certain stages of treatment, small elastics also known as rubber bands are worn to trigger tooth movement or jaw alignment.

Safety Strap
This strap prevents the headgear’s facebow from coming loose which may lead to injury.

These are a small wire loop or elastic o-ring placed between the teeth to provide space for the bands. Separators are placed between the teeth around a week before bands are to be cemented to the teeth.

Serial Extraction
Guided or selective removal of some baby teeth and/or permanent teeth over a pre-determined period of time to make way for permanent teeth.

Space Maintainer
This is a fixed appliance designed to hold space for a permanent tooth that has yet to erupt after a primary (baby) tooth has been lost early, due to decay or accident.

Supernumerary Teeth
This is a hereditary occurrence in which more teeth grow than usual. As a result, the teeth are malformed or erupt in an abnormal way.

Tongue Crib
This is a fixed appliance designed to aid a patient stop poor oral habits or undesirable tongue forces exerted on the teeth as well as the supporting structures.

Tongue Thrust
This occurs when a person’s tongue pushes against the teeth when he or she swallows. Forces generated by this can move the bone and teeth and may lead to a posterior or anterior open bite.

Wax is placed on the archwires or brackets to keep them from irritating the cheeks or lips.

Wires, also known as archwires, are held in the brackets with the help of tiny elastic o-rings or stainless steel wire ligatures. These are used to move the teeth.