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Your Bloomington Orthodontist Provides Helpful Term Definitions

At Bowers Orthodontic Specialists, we specialize in providing our patients with exceptional orthodontic treatment so they can achieve their best smiles! We believe that an important part of the orthodontic treatment process is making sure our patients understand as much as possible about their treatment. Below are some of the most common orthodontic terms along with their definitions, which can help you gain a better understanding of your treatment.

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.

Forsus Appliance

Fixed or removeable 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.

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.

Contact Our Office For Answers To Your Questions!

We hope you found this glossary both interesting and helpful! The team at Bowers Orthodontic Specialists is always available to speak with you so please don’t hesitate to contact us if you have any questions about your treatment, our practice or the types of braces we use to help our patients get the healthy and attractive smiles they deserve. If you would like to schedule your first visit with us, please give us a call at (309) 663-0415 or request an appointment online. We look forward to hearing from you soon!