Appliance - anything that is attached to your teeth that moves your teeth or corrects your bite

Archwire - a wire engaged in orthodontic attachments, affixed to the crowns of two or more teeth and guides the direction of tooth movement


Band (orthodontic) - a thin metal ring, usually stainless steel, which serves to secure orthodontic attachments to a tooth The band is closely adapted to fit the contours of the tooth and then cemented into place

Bracket - an orthodontic attachment made of metal, ceramic or plastic that holds the archwire against each tooth The archwire fits into a slot in the bracket Brackets may be attached directly to each tooth or to a band


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

Chain - an elastic chain that is used to hold the archwires onto the brackets

Coil spring - The coil spring fits between brackets and over the archwire


Debanding - the removal of cemented orthodontic bands


Elastics (rubber bands) -a tiny rubber ring that ties the archwire into the bracket Found in numerous colors for better appearance


Fixed retainer - a permanent retainer that is bonded to the back side of the front teeth to keep the teeth from shifting from their new position


Habit appliance - an appliance designed to deter thumb or finger sucking habits

Headgear - generic term for extraoral traction (attached around the back side of the head) for growth modification, tooth movement and anchorage

Herbst appliance - fixed or removable appliance designed commonly for overbite problems


Impressions - an imprint or mold of the teeth used to design an orthodontic treatment plan

Interceptive treatment - interceptive treatment, also known as early treatment, is limited orthodontic treatment usually performed between the ages of 6 and 10 This phase of treatment makes future orthodontic treatment faster and less invasive


Lingual appliances - orthodontic appliances fixed to the interior (tongue) side of teeth


MARA appliance -a growth appliance that helps correct overbites by positioning the patient's lower jaw forward

Maxillary -of or pertaining to the upper jaw May be used to describe teeth, dental restorations, orthodontic appliances or facial structures

Mouthguard -a mouthpiece that is tailored to provide protection to the braces and teeth while the patient is playing a sport


Palatal expander - attached to the upper molars through bonding or by cemented bands, the palatal expander is used to create a wider space in the upper jaw


Radiograph - a permanent image, typically on film, 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


Separator (spacer) - small elastics that fit snugly between certain teeth to move them slightly so bands can be placed around them later


Wax - patients are instructed to place wax over a bracket or poking wire that is causing irritation to the lip or cheek



Abscess - infection caused by severe tooth decay, trauma or gum disease

Amalgam - a silver and mercury material used for fillings

Anesthetic - a drug used by your doctor to eliminate a patient's localized pain during certain dental procedures

Anterior - the teeth in the front of your mouth

Apex - the very tip of the root of a tooth

Aspirator - a suction device your dentist uses to remove saliva from your mouth


Bonding - a plastic composite painted on the teeth to correct stains or damage

Bridge - one or more artificial teeth attached to your adjacent teeth

Bruxism - the clenching or grinding of teeth, most commonly while sleeping


Calculus - the hardened plaque that can form on neglected or prone teeth, commonly known as tartar

Canine - the pointy teeth just behind the laterals

Caries - another name for cavities or decayed teeth

Cavity - a tiny hole in the tooth caused by decay

Central - the two upper and two lower teeth in the center of the mouth

Crown - an artificial tooth or cover made of porcelain or metal

Cuspid - the pointy teeth just behind the laterals, also known as canines


Decalcification - the loss of calcium from the teeth

Dental Implants - an implant is attached to the jawbone that replaces a missing tooth or teeth

Dentures - a removable set of artificial teeth


Enamel - the hard surface of the tooth above the gum line

Endodontist - a dentist who specializes in root canals and the treatment of diseases and infections of the dental pulp (inner tooth)

Extraction - the removal of a tooth or teeth


Filling - a plug made of metal or composite material used to fill a tooth cavity

Fluoride - a chemical solution used to harden teeth and prevent decay


Gingivitis - inflammation of gums around the roots of the teeth

Gums - the firm flesh that surrounds the roots of the teeth


Impacted Tooth - often occurring with wisdom teeth, it is a tooth that sits sideways below the gum line, often requiring extraction

Incisor - one of the flat, sharp-edged teeth in the front of the mouth

Inlays - a custom-made filling cemented into an unhealthy tooth


Lateral - these are the teeth adjacent to the centrals


Night Guard - a plastic mouthpiece worn at night to prevent grinding of the teeth; also used to treat TMJ


Pedodontist - also known as a pediatric dentist, a dentist that specializes in the treatment of children's teeth

Periodontist - a dentist specializing in the treatment of gum disease

Plaque - a sticky buildup of acids and bacteria that causes tooth decay

Posterior Teeth - the teeth in the back of the mouth

Primary Teeth - also known as "baby teeth"

Prosthodontist - a dentist specializing in the restoration and replacement of missing teeth or severely damaged teeth


Root - the portion of the tooth below your gum line

Root Canal - cleaning out and filling the inside nerve of a tooth that is heavily decayed


Sealant - plastic coating applied to teeth to prevent decay. Used most commonly for children

Secondary Teeth - the permanent teeth

Sleep Apnea - a potentially serious disorder in which a sleeping person may stop breathing for 10 seconds or more, often continuously throughout the night


TMJ Syndrome - a disorder associated with the joint of the jaw, often caused by a misalignment of or a disparity in upper and lower jaw sizes.

Tooth Whitening - a process designed to whiten and brighten teeth


Veneer - a plastic, porcelain or composite material used to improve the attractiveness of a stained or damaged tooth