Here is a list of common orthodontic terms. Knowing them will help you understand the treatment process.
Archwire - the main wire that is attached to the brackets and guides tooth movement.
Auxiliaries - small pins or springs that fit into braces to help move a single tooth.
Band - a ring of metal made to fit around an individual tooth. Usually they are only used on molars.
Bond - the seal created by orthodontic cement to a tooth.
Bonding Adhesive - a special adhesive used to affix a bracket to a tooth.
Bracket - the brace that is attached to the tooth. Holds the archwire in place and controls tooth movement during treatment.
Buccal Tube - a tube that is attached to the molar bands into which the archwire and sometimes headgear are inserted.
Cement - a special adhesive used to hold a band onto the tooth.
Closed Bite - a condition in which the upper teeth cover the lower teeth when biting down.
Crossbite - a condition in which some of the upper teeth are inside the lower teeth when biting down.
Crowding - too many teeth in too small a place.
Dentition - the arrangement of the teeth.
Drift - unwanted movement of teeth.
Elastics (also called Rubber Bands) - small bands that are hooked from one tooth to another.
Elastic Thread - a small strip of rubber covered with nylon thread. Usually left in place until the next appointment.
Face Bow - two connected, curved wires that insert into molar tubes and rest outside of the mouth.
Headgear - a cap or strap that fits over the head and connects to teeth by inserting wires into molar tubes.
Head Plate - a large X-ray that shows teeth in relationship to the bones in the head.
Impression - a mold that is made of the teeth when the patient bites into a modeling solution that has been placed in a special holding tray.
Impression Tray - a mouth-shaped tray that holds impression material.
Intermaxillary Hook - a small additional hook placed on the archwire. Used to hold elastics.
Ligatures - elastic circles that hold the archwire onto individual brackets.
Lingual Button or Hook - a small projection on the tongue side of a band. Used to hold small wires or rubber bands.
Malocclusion - poor positioning of the teeth.
Model - a plaster cast made of the patient’s teeth for treatment purposes.
Occlusion - the alignment and spacing of upper and lower teeth when biting down.
Open Bite - a condition in which the teeth do not close together when biting down.
Overbite - a condition in which the upper teeth overlap vertically over the lower teeth.
Overjet - a condition in which the upper teeth overlap horizontally over the lower teeth.
Palatal Expander - a device used to widen the jaw to create additional room for teeth.
Retainer - a hard plastic appliance used to hold the teeth in place following the removal of braces.
Rotation - the action of turning a tooth along its long axis.
Separators/Spacers - small pieces of rubber placed between teeth to create room for bands to be installed.
Tipping - the action of moving a tooth from side to side.
Torquing - the action of moving a tooth forward and backward.
Torquing Auxiliary - a small, multi-looped wire that is usually applied to the four upper front teeth during the final stage of treatment.
Typodont - a plastic model that shows the alignment of teeth.