Archwire- The archwire is fastened to all of the brackets and creates force to move teeth into proper alignment.

Brackets- Brackets are bonded directly onto each tooth.The archwire is held in place by a series of brackets.

Crossbite- Upper back teeth are in crossbite if they erupt and contact inside or outside of the lower back teeth. Lower front teeth are in crossbite if they erupt in front of the upper front teeth. A crossbite can be a single tooth or groups of teeth.

Elastics/Rubber Bands- Rubber bands (elastics) are used to temporarily connect brackets between the upper and lower jaw to add force for additional tooth movement.

Headgear- An appliance worn outside of the mouth to provide traction for growth modification and tooth movement.

Malocclusion- Latin for “bad bite.” The term used in orthodontics to describe teeth that do not fit together properly.

Class I Malocclusion
A malocclusion in which the back molars meet properly, but the front teeth may appear to be crowded together, spaced apart, there my be an overbite, an openbite, a posterior (back) crossbite or an anterior (front) crossbite.
Class II Malocclusion
A malocclusion where the upper front teeth are protruding, or the lower teeth and/or jaw is positioned back relative to the upper teeth and/or jaw.
Class III Malocclusion
A malocclusion where the lower teeth and/or jaw is positioned ahead relative to the upper teeth and/or jaw.

Occlusion- Latin for “bite.” In orthodontics, occlusion describes how the upper and lower teeth meet.

Openbite- A malocclusion in which teeth do not make contact with each other. With an anterior open bite, the front teeth do not touch when the back teeth are closed together. With a posterior open bite, the back teeth do not touch when the front teeth are closed together.


The upper front teeth excessively overlap the bottom front teeth when back teeth are closed. Also called a closed bite or deep bite.

Overjet- Protruding upper front teeth. Sometimes called buck teeth.

O Rings- A tiny, o-shaped rubber band that is used as a ligature and holds the archwire to bracket slots. O-rings come in a variety of colors, and are generally changed at each adjustment appointment.

Separator- An elastic o-ring or small wire loop placed between the teeth to create space for placement of orthodontic bands. Separators are usually placed between the teeth a week before bands are scheduled to be placed on the teeth.

Fixed and Removable Appliances

Band and Loop (B&L)- if a back baby tooth is missing, and band and loop is usually used to hold a space until a permanent tooth can grow in and fill the space.

Herbst- This appliance is used to move the lower jaw forward.  It can be fixed or removable. When it is fixed, it is cemented to teeth in one or both arches using stainless steel crowns. An expansion screw may be used to widen the upper jaw at the same time.

Holding/Lingual Arch- Bands on upper or lower molars are connected using a bar behind teeth; used to maintain space.

Palatal Expander- A fixed or removable orthodontic appliance used to make the upper jaw wider.

Quad Helix- used to provide constant, gradual pressure in up to four directions for the purpose of moving molars, expanding or contracting arches, or assisting in eliminating finger/thumb sucking habits.

Bi Helix- Used to expand the lower arch without any interference with tongue movement or posture.

Hawley- A removable retainer made of wire and a hard plastic-like material.

Nance- this appliance maintains the position of the maxillary molars without interfering with any other teeth. A plastic button placed on the palate provides stability for the appliance.

Retainers- A fixed or removable appliance worn after braces are removed or aligner therapy is complete. A retainer is fitted to upper and/or lower teeth to hold them in their finished positions. When worn as prescribed, retainers are the best tool available to minimize unwanted tooth movement after active treatment ends.


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