There are many words that may get tossed around in an orthodontist office that may seem unfamiliar. While your doctor should fully explain every appliance, process or procedure in great detail, many people like to follow up with a bit of research of their own. The following is a list of orthodontic terms that you may be curious about.
Parts of Braces
Appliance: Anything your orthodontist attaches to your teeth that moves your teeth or changes the shape of your jaw.
Archwire: The metal wire that acts as a track to guide your teeth as they move. It is changed periodically throughout treatment as your teeth move to new positions.
Band: A metal ring that is cemented to your tooth, going completely around it. Bands provide a way to attach brackets to your teeth.
Bond: The seal created by orthodontic cement that holds your appliances in place.
Bracket: A metal or ceramic part 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 space between your teeth.
Elastic (Rubber Band): A small rubber band that is hooked between different points on your appliance to provide pressure to move your teeth to a new position.
Elastic Tie: 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 back bands. The inner bow of your headgear fits into it.
Hook: A welded or removable arm to which elastics are attached.
Ligature: A thin wire that holds your archwire into your bracket.
Lip Bumper: A lip bumper is an archwire attached to a molded piece of plastic. The lip bumper holds back the molars on your lower jaw to provide more space for your other teeth.
Mouthguard: A device that protects your mouth from injury when you participate in sports or rigorous activities.
Palatal Expander: A device that makes your upper jaw wider.
Retainer: An appliance that is worn after your braces are removed, the retainer attaches to your upper and/or lower teeth to hold them in place. Some retainers are removable, while others are bonded to the tongue-side of several teeth.
Separator or Spacer: A small rubber ring that creates space between your teeth before the bands are attached.
Tie Wire: A fine wire that is twisted around your bracket to hold the archwire in place.
Wax: Wax is used to stop your braces from irritating your lip and cheeks.
Banding: The process of fitting and cementing orthodontic bands to your teeth.
Bonding: The process of attaching brackets to your teeth using special orthodontic cement.
Cephalometric X-ray: An X-ray of your head that shows the relative positions and growth of the face, jaws, and teeth.
Consultation: A meeting with your orthodontist to discuss a treatment plan.
Debanding: The process of removing cemented orthodontic bands from your teeth.
Debonding: The process of removing cemented orthodontic brackets from your teeth.
Impressions: A model of your mouth made by biting into a soft material that hardens into a mold of your teeth. Your orthodontist will use these impressions to prepare your treatment plan and to make retainers.
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.
Ligation: The process of attaching an archwire to the brackets on your teeth.
Panoramic X-ray: An X-ray that rotates around your head to take pictures of your teeth, jaw, and other facial areas.
If you have any questions about what your orthodontist says, don't be afraid to ask about it! At Macdonald Orthodontics we will always be happy to discuss your questions or concerns at our Gilbert orthodontics office and Mesa orthodontics office. We never want you to be uncomfortable. To further the discussion, give us a call at your location to request an appointment for orthodontics in Mesa or Gilbert.
Posted: May 1, 2020
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