Glossary

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archwire

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A wire engaged in orthodontic brackets and bands connecting the teeth to cause or guide tooth movement.

band (orthodontic)

A thin stainless steel ring, which serves to secure orthodontic attachments to a tooth. The band, with orthodontic attachments welded or soldered to it, is closely adapted to fit the contours of the tooth and then cemented into place.

bracket

An orthodontic attachment that is bonded to a tooth for the purpose of engaging an archwire. Brackets can be fabricated from metal, ceramic or plastic.

ceramic brackets

Crystalline, alumina, tooth-shade or clear synthetic sapphire brackets that are aesthetically more attractive than conventional metal attachments.

crowding

Dental malalignment caused by inadequate space for the teeth.

debonding

The removal of cemented orthodontic bands.

elastics (rubber bands)

Used to move teeth in prescribed direction (commonly connected between brackets and bands). Found in numerous colors for better appearance.

gingiva

Commonly known as "gums". It is the soft tissue that surrounds the teeth.

headgear

Generic term for an appliance worn outside the mouth in conjunction with braces for growth modification, tooth movement and anchorage.

imaging

The process of acquiring representations of structures in either two or three dimensions (digital photographs and X-rays).

lingual

Of or pertaining to the tongue. A term used to describe surfaces and directions toward the tongue.

lingual appliances

Orthodontic appliances fixed to the lingual surface of the teeth.

maxillary

Of or pertaining to the upper jaw. May be used to describe teeth, dental restorations, orthodontic appliances or facial structures.

orthodontist

A dental specialist who has completed an advanced post-doctoral course (after completion of dental school), accredited by the American Dental Association, of at least two academic years in the special area of orthodontics.

orthognathic surgery

Surgery to alter relationships of the jaws in conjunction with orthodontic treatment.

overbite

Vertical overlapping of upper teeth over lower teeth.

radiograph

Commonly known as an X-ray.

retainer

Any orthodontic appliance, fixed or removable, used to maintain the position of the teeth following corrective treatment.

retention

The passive treatment phase following active orthodontic correction during which retainers are worn.