Orthodontic Dictionary


An Appliance is anything your orthodontist attaches to your teeth to move your teeth or jaws. They may be brace, plates or Invisalign.



An arch wire is the metal wire that connects all of the braces together. It applies a gently pressure which guides the teeth to move. Wires are changed as treatment progresses and as diferent objectives are met.



A band is a metal ring that wraps around your tooth. It I held in position by a small amount of glue. The bracket or brace is attached to the band by a strong weld. Bands are commonly used on the molars as these chewing teeth need a strong brace that will not come off through treatment.



A metal of ceramic attachment which is glued to your tooth. The brackets act as a handle of the tooth and allow the arch wire to connect to the tooth.



The process of fitting the orthodontic bands, brackets and arch wire to your teeth.



The process of using special dental glue to make attachment to your teeth.


Cephalometric X-Ray

A cephalometric X-Ray is a standard x-ray of the head that shows the relative position of the face and structures. It is used to help plan your orthodontic treatment.



Small elastic bands linked in a chain to move teeth together and close gaps. They come in different colours.


Coil Spring

A coil spring is a spring that fits between two brackets (teeth) to move them apart.



A consultation is a meeting with the orthodontist to examine the teeth and jaws and discuss any proposed treatment.



The process of removing orthodontic bands and brackets from the teeth.



Small rubber band that is hooked between different points on the braces to provide pressure to move the teeth into the desired position.


Surgical hook

A small attachment which is squeezed on the arch wire to which elastics can be attached.


Cone Beam CT (CBCT) scan

A 3 dimensional X-Ray of the teeth, jaws and face giving detailed information. These are used when standard X-Rays do not give all of the information or when complicated cases require extra information.


The process of making moulds of the teeth by biting into a soft dough material.



A series of clear aligners which are changed every 2 weeks to allow movement of the teeth. They can be an alternative to braces in some selected cases.



A thin metal wire that holds the main wire to the bracket.



A small elastic band that fits around the bracket to hold the main wire in place. They come in a variety of colours and can be changed at each visit.



A device that protects the teeth and mouth from injury when participating in contact sports.



An overall view of the mouth that shows the jaws , jaw joints, teeth and supporting structures. It is used to help plan your treatment.


Palatal expander

A device which makes the upper jaw wider. The screw is turned by the patient at home and it works like a car jack.



A device which makes the upper jaw wider. The spring pushes the teeth apart.



An appliance that is work after your braces are removed to maintain tooth alignment as the teeth settle into a stable position. Some retainers are removable and others are glued to the tongue side of the teeth.


Separators (Seps)

A separator is a small rubber ring that is flossed between your teeth to create space before your braces are fitted.



Soft wax is used to stop your braces from irritating your lips. It is applied to any roughness that is irritating the cheeks or lips.


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