Glossary of Terms


An evaluation of your progress when your wires may be changes to keep your treatment on track and moving forward.


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


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


Bands are metal bands that are sometimes placed on the back molars and are used to anchor other orthodontic appliances to.


The process of cementing orthodontic bands to your teeth


The process of attaching brackets to your teeth using a special safe adhesive.

Buccal Tube: 

A small metal part that is welded on the outside of a molar band. The molar band contains slots to hold archwires, lip bumps, facebrows and other things your orthodontist uses to move your teeth.


Brackets are the small metal or ceramic modules attached to each tooth. They serve as guides to move the teeth and hold the archwire in place. The brackets used in orthodontics today bond directly to the teeth with a tooth-colored bonding adhesive. They are much smaller and lighter than ever.

Cephalmotetric X-rays: 

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


A stretchable plastic chain used to hold archwires into brackets and to move teeth.


A meeting with your orthodontist where he/she discusses your treatment plan.


The removal of cemented orthodontic brackets.


During various phases of treatment, small elastic or rubber bands are used as a gentle but continuous force to help individual tooth movement or the aligning of jaws. 
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Fixed retainer: 

With permanent retainers, we can greatly enhance the stability of that beautiful smile and perfect bite. These “invisible” retainers are bonded or glues on the back side of the front teeth. There is virtually no discomfort associated with eating and speaking.


The spring like appliance creates an upward and backward force on the upper molars similar to a headgear, while at the same time pushing the lower teeth and jaw forward. Typically, the Forsus Springs are worn for 6 to 8 months, with adjustments every 6-8 weeks.

Herbst Appliance: 

The Herbst appliance is used to correct skeletal imbalances where the lower jay is behind the upper jaw (Class 2). This correction occurs due to a combined restriction of upper jaw growth and an enhancement of lower jaw growth. In order to achieve the desired change in the skeletal pattern, the Herbst appliance is worn between 12-15 months.


The first step in making a model of your teeth.  You bite into a container filled with a rubber type material.  That material hardens to produce a mold of your teeth.


Invisalign is a technology developed using computer scanners and virtual reality to move teeth gradually using the construction of clear overlay retainer appliances. Invisalign can only be used in minor cases. More difficult cases require braces.
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Lip Bumper:  

A lip bumper is a removable appliance used in growing children to create and save the space necessary to accommodate the adult teeth without extraction.

Ligating Module:

A small plastic piece, shaped like a donut, which is used to hold the arch wires in the brackets on your teeth.


A device that is used to protect your mouth from injury when you are participating in sports.  The use of a mouthguard is specially important for orthodontic patients, to prevent injuries.

Palatal Expander: 

An appliance used to help widen your upper jaw or palate. 
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Panoramic X-rays: 

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

Phase 1 treatment:

Phase 1 treatment is oftentimes necessary for younger patients to establish the proper “foundation” for future dental and facial development as they become adolescents and permanent dentition erupts. Narrow upper and lower jaws or situations where the back teeth are in a crossbite situation are typical.

Phase 2 treatment: 

The use of braces and or orthodontic appliances when all the adult teeth have erupted.


Facial and intraoral photographs will be taken throughout treatment.


These records, which include cephalometric and panoramic x-rays, digital photos and study models, help your orthodontist determine what treatment needs to be done.

Removable retainer: 

An appliance that the orthodontist gives you to wear after your braces are removed. The retainer attaches to your upper and or lower teeth and holds them in the correct position while the bone around your teeth adjust to the new positions of your teeth. At first, you wear the retainer 24 hours a day, and then only at night.


A plastic or metal part that the orthodontist uses to create space between your teeth for bands. 
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A clear wax used to prevent your braces for irritating your lips when your braces are first put on, or at anytime irritation occurs.

Wax bite: 

A procedure to measure how well your teeth come together. You bite a sheet of wax and leave bitemarks in the wax. This helps the orthodontist relate the upper and lower models of your teeth together.