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Common Orthodontic Terms

  • Appliance


    Anything your orthodontist attaches to your teeth that moves your teeth or changes the shape of your jaw.

  • Archwire


    A metal wire which is inserted into the brackets that move the teeth into the desired position.

  • Band


    Bands are metal tooth rings that go around the back molars and serve as anchors for the braces. They have hooks on them so that elastics can be worn.

  • Bonding


    The process of attaching brackets to your teeth using a special safe adhesive.

  • Bracket


    Brackets are the small metal or ceramic modules that are attached to each tooth. They serve as guides to move the teeth and hold the archwire in place.

  • Chain/Powerchain


    A stretchable elastic chain that connects on the archwire, usually used to close spaces between the teeth.

  • Debonding


    The process of removing cemented orthodontic brackets from your teeth.

  • Elastic (Rubber Band)

    Elastic (Rubber Band)

    A small rubber band that is hooked between different points on your appliance to provide gentle, continuous pressure to move your teeth and/or jaws to their new positions. We offer regular or neon colors.

  • Fixed Retainer

    Fixed Retainer

    Fixed retainers consist of a metal wire bonded to the back of the teeth. Fixed retainers can stay in place indefinitely.

  • Forsus Appliance

    Forsus Appliance

    The spring-like appliance creates an upward and backward force on the upper molars similar to a headgear, while at the same time pushing the lower teeth and jaw forward. Typically, the Forsus Springs are worn for 6 to 8 months, with adjustments every 6-8 weeks.

  • Habit Appliance

    Habit Appliance

    This appliance is used to deter habits associated with thumb or finger sucking. The appliance is glued in place and will usually stop the habit in the first couple of months. The appliance is typically left in place until the permanent front teeth overlap each other.

  • Ligation


    The process of attaching an archwire to the brackets on your teeth.

  • Mara Appliance

    Mara Appliance

    The Mara is and appliance that helps posture the patient’s jaw forward when biting down. It helps correct overbites in growing patients. Usually, it is worn about 9 – 12 months before removal.

  • Molar Tube

    Molar Tube

    A small metal part that is welded on the outside of a molar band. The molar band contains slots to hold archwires, lip bumpers, facebows and other things your orthodontist uses to move your teeth.

  • Mouthguard


    A device that protects your mouth from injury when you participate in sports or rigorous activities.

  • Palatal Expander

    Palatal Expander

    A palatal expander, also known as a rapid palatal expander, rapid maxillary expansion appliance, palate expander or orthodontic expander, is used to widen the upper jaw so that the bottom and upper teeth will fit together better.

  • Separator (Spacer)

    Separator (Spacer)

    A small rubber ring that creates space between your teeth before the bands are attached.

  • Wax


    A clear wax used to prevent your braces from irritating your lips or cheeks when your braces are first put on, or as needed. Wax works best when the irritating area is dried well first and then, embedded totally within the pea-sized or grape-sized ball of wax.

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