COMMON TERMS

Archwire

Wire engaged in orthodontic brackets that is capable of causing or guiding tooth movement.

Band (orthodontic)

A thin metal ring, usually stainless steel, which serves to secure orthodontic attachments to a tooth. The band is closely adapted to fit the contours of the tooth and then cemented.

Bracket (orthodontic)

An orthodontic attachment that is secured to a tooth, either by directly bonding to a tooth or banding, for the purpose of engaging an archwire. Brackets can be metal, ceramic or plastic.

Ceramic brackets

Crystalline, alumina, tooth-shade or clear synthetic sapphire brackets that are aesthetically more attractive than conventional metal brackets.

Debanding/Debonding

The removal of cemented orthodontic bands or brackets.

Dental Radiograph

Commonly called x-rays and used for many reasons: to find hidden dental structures, malignant or benign masses, bone loss, and cavities.

Digital Radiograph

A form of X-ray imaging, where digital X-ray sensors are used instead of traditional photographic film. Less radiation can be used to produce an image of similar contrast to conventional radiography.

Elastics (rubber bands)

Used to move teeth in a prescribed direction, most commonly connected to molar bands and bracket ball hooks.

Gingiva

The tissue that surrounds the teeth, consisting of a fibrous tissue that is continuous with the periodontal ligament and mucosal covering.

Headgear

Generic term for extraoral traction (attached around the back side of the head) for growth modification, tooth movement and anchorage.

Lingual appliances

Orthodontic appliances fixed to the tongue surface of the teeth

Maxillary

Of or pertaining to the upper jaw. May be used to describe teeth, dental restorations, orthodontic appliances or facial structures.

Orthodontist

A dental specialist who has completed an advanced post-doctoral course, accredited by the American Dental Association, of at least two academic years in the special area of orthodontics.

Orthognathic surgery

Surgery to alter relationships of teeth and/or supporting bones, usually accomplished in conjunction with orthodontic therapy.

Overbite

Vertical overlapping of upper teeth over lower teeth, usually measured perpendicular to the occlusal plane.

Overjet

Increased projection of the upper teeth in front of the lower teeth, usually measured parallel to the occlusal plane. Also called horizontal overlap.

Retainer

Any orthodontic appliance, fixed or removable, used to maintain the position of the teeth following corrective orthodontic treatment.

Retention

The period following active orthodontic treatment during which retainers are typically used.