Parts of Your Braces

arch wire– metal wire that attaches to your brackets for the purpose of moving your teeth

band– thin metal ring attached to back molars to add extra support; also helpful appliance for attaching headgear or bite correctors

bracket– a metal or ceramic part that is glued to a tooth in order to fasten the arch wire

buccal tube– small metal piece welded to a molar band for the purpose of holding arch wires, lip bumpers, and face bows

impression– negative copy of a tooth or dental arch used as a mold to make an exact positive replica

ligating module (quick stick)– small plastic ring used to hold the arch wires in the brackets

lip bumper– device attached to buccal tubes in your lower jaw to push back your molars to create more space for your other teeth

mouth guard– placed in your mouth to protect it from injury when playing sports

orthodontic wax- clear wax applied to the ends of wire for added comfort in your mouth

palatal expander– device used to create more space in a mouth by slowly widening the upper jaw

retainer– an removable appliance used in the mouth to keep the correction of teeth after braces

separator– small rubber bands placed between molars to create space for bands

Orthodontist Tools & Materials

acrylic– a safe plastic used when making false teeth, retainers, and other dental products that are used in the mouth

alginate– soft compound that hardens to create impressions

band remover– tool to remove bands from teeth

bite plane– removable appliance to fix a deep bite

bite stick or band biter– tool to assist in applying bands by pushing the band in place when you bite down on the tool

cheek retractors– small plastic tools to gently pull back your lips and cheeks so the orthodontist can see and work better in your mouth

curing (light)- special UV light for attaching brackets to your teeth

distal end cutter– tool to cut off the end of wires

explorer– hook-like fine-pointed tool used to examine the mouth

mathieu clip– plier tool that can lock into place, for holding on to small pieces

scaler– tool with a hook on the end; used to measure space in gaps and remove extra cement

Orthodontic Procedures

acid etch– process to help prepare your teeth for brackets; a weak acid is spread on the front of the teeth

bonding– procedure of attaching brackets with an adhesive

cephalometric x-rays– an x-ray of the head

debanding (DB)– removing cemented orthodontic bands

debonding (DB)– removing brackets

extraoral photograph– photos of the face to refer to for alignment

impressions– process of creating a mold of your teeth; you will place your teeth in a dish of alginate until it hardens around your teeth and is removed

panoramic x-ray (Pan)– x-ray for your orthodontist to have a full picture of your teeth and jaws. It is taken by a machine that rotates around your head

wax bite– test to determine how well your teeth are aligned by having you bite down on a sheet of wax

Other Orthodontic Terms

arch form– shape of the arch in your mouth 

closed bite– complication when upper front teeth cover the lower front teeth when biting down; also referred to as an overbite

crossbite– the alignment of the upper teeth to the lower teeth is off horizontally

crowding– when there is not enough room in the mouth for the teeth; teeth push up against each other and eventually overlap

diastema- the space between two teeth

drift– when there is movement in the teeth that is unwanted

extrusion– when a tooth is moving out of the gum to become “erupted”

fixed appliance– any component that is fixed to the teeth during orthodontics

flared teeth– upper set of teeth are “flared” outward

inclination– angle of tipping on a tooth

intrusion– displacement of a tooth back into the bone

lingual arch– orthodontic wire that connects molar to molar on the inside of your teeth

malocclusion– any poor positioning of teeth; includes overbite, cross bite, under bite, and more

Class I malocclusion– condition in which your bite is fine, but your teeth are crooked or crowded

Class II malocclusion– condition in which your upper teeth are farther forward than your lower teeth

Class III malocclusion– condition in which your lower teeth are farther forward than your upper teeth

occlusion– alignment of upper and lower teeth when you close your jaws; a proper occlusion means that the top teeth meet up with the bottom teeth

open bite– condition in which a portion of your teeth do not come together when biting down

overjet– condition in which the upper teeth hang over the lower teeth horizontally

retrusive– when the front teeth are angled toward the back of the mouth

rotation– adjustment where the tooth is turned along the long axis

tipping – adjustment for the root of the tooth to tip to correct the angle of the crown of the tooth

torque– force system to change the inclination of a tooth

tracing (cephalometric)– tracing of a cephalometric x-ray to provide a basis for orthodontic treatment

translation– movement of the tooth as a whole in a parallel straight line without tipping or rotating

typodont– model of an oral cavity