Orthodontics is a specialized branch of dentistry which deals with treatment of irregularities in the jaws and teeth. The commonly used terminologies in orthodontics are listed below.
Acid Etch: The procedure of applying weak acid onto the tooth surface to prepare it for brackets (braces).
Appliances: This is any device attached to the teeth, to move the teeth, or change the position of the jaw.
Arch: Upper or lower jaw
Archwire: The metal wire attached to the brackets that are used to move the teeth.
Band: A metal ring that is cemented to the teeth for anchorage.
Braces: A fixed orthodontic appliance usually comprised of brackets, bands and wires.
Brackets: A tiny metal ceramic part that is affixed to each tooth on the arch. This serves to fasten the archwire.
Bruxism: Excessive grinding of the teeth, usually during sleep
Buccal: The cheek surface inside the mouth
Buccal Tube: A small metal part of the bracket welded to the outside of the molar band; It contains slots to hold archwire, lip bumper, headgear and face bows.
Cephalometric Radiograph: A lateral (side view) X-ray of the head that shows alignment of teeth
Chain: A series of elastic O-rings connected to hold each bracket to stabilize the archwire in place and move the teeth
Class I Malocclusion: Malocclusion with proper molar relationship and teeth that are crowded together, spaced apart, overbite, open bite, posterior cross bite or anterior cross bite
Class II Malocclusion: Malocclusion with upper front teeth protruding or due to lower teeth and jaw positioned back, relatively to upper teeth and jaw
Class III Malocclusion: Malocclusion with lower front teeth protruding or due to lower teeth and jaw positioned ahead, relatively to upper teeth and jaw
Closed Bite: Also, known as deep bite, it occurs when upper front teeth overlap the bottom front teeth excessively
Comprehensive Treatment: A complete orthodontic treatment performed to correct malocclusion
Congenitally Missing Teeth: A genetic occurrence in which an expected number of permanent teeth do not develop
Cross bite: Upper posterior teeth erupt and function inside or outside of the arch in the lower posterior teeth. Lower anterior teeth erupt and function in front of the upper anterior teeth
Crown Angulation/Inclination: Tooth movement where the root of the tooth is tipped forward or backward to correct the angle of the crown
De-banding: Removal of orthodontic bands from the teeth
De-bonding: Removal of affixed orthodontic brackets from the teeth
Diagnostic Records: The information of the patient which may include thorough patient history, visual examination of teeth and radiographs, etc.
Digital Radiograph: Digital X-rays of the teeth which can be transmitted via computer
Ectopic Eruption: A tooth or teeth that erupt in an abnormal position
Elastics: Rubber bands that provide individual tooth movement or jaw alignment during certain treatments
Eruption: Process by which teeth come into the mouth
Extraction: Removal of a tooth
Face bow: A wire used with a night brace or headgear to move the upper first molars back, creating space for crowded or protrusive front teeth
Fiberotomy: A surgical procedure used to detach the fibers of attachment around the tooth
Fixed Appliances: An orthodontic appliance that is bonded or cemented to the teeth and cannot or should not be removed by the patient
Frenectomy: The surgical removal or repositioning of the frenulum (thin folds of mucous membrane enclosed with muscle fibers)
Gingiva: Gums or soft tissue around the teeth
Headgear: An appliance worn outside the mouth to provide traction for growth modification and tooth movement
Herbst Appliance: An appliance which is used to move the lower jaw forward
Impaction: A tooth that does not erupt or erupts partially
Impressions: Process of making a mound of the teeth
Interproximal Reduction: Removal of small amount of enamel between the teeth to reduce the width; also, known as reproximation, enamel reduction, slenderizing, stripping or selective reduction
Labial: The surface of the teeth in both upper and lower arches that face the lips
Lingual: The tongue side of the teeth in both arches
Lip Bumper: A wire device used to move the lower molars back and lower front teeth forward, creating room for crowded front teeth
Lip Incompetence: The inability to close the lips together at rest, due to protrusive front teeth
Malocclusion: Teeth that do not fit together properly
Mandible: Lower jaw
Maxilla: Upper jaw
Mixed Dentition: The dental developmental stage in children (age 6-12years) when they have a mix of baby teeth and permanent teeth
Open Bite: A malocclusion in which teeth do not make contact with each other
Orthodontics: specialized branch of dentistry which deals with treatment of malocclusions
Panoramic Radiograph: An X-ray that shows all teeth and both jaws on one film
Palatal Expander: A fixed or removable appliance used to make the upper jaw wider
Periodontal: Refers to the hard and soft tissues or supporting structures around the teeth
Plaque: A colorless, sticky film of bacteria, food particles and saliva that forms in the mouth and causes tooth decay and gum disease
Removable Appliance: An orthodontic appliance that can be removed and reinserted
Retainer: A fixed or removable appliance worn after braces are removed
Safety Strap: It prevents the face bow of the headgear from becoming loose and causing injury
Separators: A small wire loop placed between the teeth to create room for placing the bands
Serial Extraction: Selective removal of certain baby teeth and/or permanent teeth for a period to create space for permanent teeth
Space Maintainer: A fixed appliance used to hold space for an unerupted permanent tooth after the loss of a baby tooth prematurely, due to accident or decay
Supernumerary Teeth: A genetic occurrence of more teeth than the usual number. These can be malformed or could have erupted abnormally
Tightening the Braces: The process that is recommended every 3-6 weeks for adjustments of wires in the braces
Tongue Crib: A fixed device used to help patient stop habits of undesirable tongue forces exerting on teeth and bone that supports the teeth
Tongue Thrust: A person’s tongue pushes against the teeth when swallowing. These forces generated by the tongue move the teeth and bone leading to an anterior or posterior open bite.
Wax: Wax is placed on the brackets or archwires to prevent them from irritating the lips or cheeks.
Wires: Also, referred as archwires, they are attached to the brackets to move the teeth