Orthodontic Terms

Braces & Invisalign in Scottsdale, AZ

At Affiliated Pediatric Dentistry & Orthodontics (APDO, for short), our mission is to help each of our patients achieve a healthy, beautiful, radiant smile. That's why our doctors and expert team of pediatric dental & orthodontic specialists work hard to design personalized treatment plans for all of our patients, and why we strive to make treatment as convenient, comfortable, and effective as possible. In addition to the treatment we provide in the office, we believe patient education is crucial to orthodontic success – which is why we've compiled a list of some common orthodontic terms along with their definitions.

archwire
A wire engaged in orthodontic attachments, affixed to the crowns of two or more teeth and capable of causing or guiding tooth movement.

band (orthodontic)
A thin metal ring, usually stainless steel, 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 secured to a tooth (either by bonding or banding) 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.

debanding
The removal of cemented orthodontic bands.

debonding
The removal of the brackets and the adhesive with which they were attached from your teeth

elastics (rubber bands)
Used to move teeth in prescribed directions. If needed, instructions will be given as to how to wear them and how often. This is where the patient’s involvement is extremely important, as it is up to him or her to take them on and off.

gingiva
The tissue that surrounds the teeth, consisting of a fibrous tissue that is continuous with the periodontal ligament and mucosal covering.

headgear
Generic term for extraoral traction (attached around the back side of the head) for growth modification, tooth movement and anchorage. Very infrequently used in this office.

imaging
The process of acquiring representations of structures in either two or three dimensions.

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, 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 teeth and/or supporting bones, usually accomplished in conjunction with orthodontic therapy.

overbite
Vertical overlapping of upper teeth over lower teeth, usually measured perpendicular to the occlusal plane.

radiograph
A permanent image, performed digitally in our office, produced by ionizing radiation. Sometimes called an X-ray after the most common source of image-producing radiation.

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

retention
The passive treatment period following active orthodontic correction during which retaining appliances may be used.

straight wire appliance
A variation of the edgewise appliance in which brackets are angulated to minimize multiple archwire bends. Brackets and molar tubes have specific orientation in three planes of space.

Contact Your Orthodontists in Phoenix & Scottsdale

We hope you've found this list informative, and as always, if you have any unanswered questions, we're here to help. You can call us anytime at (480) 556-0600 for our Scottsdale office or 480-949-0332 for our Grayhawk office, reach out to us at our contact page with any questions, or use our easy online form to request an appointment at either of our offices. No matter how you choose to contact us, we look forward to hearing from you, and we're excited to help you achieve a healthy, beautiful smile that'll last you the rest of your life.