Following is a listing of commonly used orthodontic terms. For additional terms, please visit the American Association of Orthodontics at: www.mylifemysmile.org/glossary.

Appliances –

Any device, attached to the teeth or removable, designed to move the teeth, change the position of the jaw or hold the teeth in their finished positions after braces are removed.

Archwire –

The metal wire that is attached to the brackets and used to move the teeth.

Band –

The metal ring that is cemented to a tooth for strength and anchorage.

Braces –

A word commonly used to describe a fixed orthodontic appliance, usually comprised of brackets, bands and wires.

Brackets –

Brackets are connected to the bands or directly bonded on the teeth and hold the archwire in place.

Brushing –

Brushing the teeth is part of an individual's daily home dental care. Patients with braces should follow the orthodontist's instruction on how often to brush./p>

Diagnostic Records –

The material and information that an orthodontist needs to properly diagnose and plan a patient's treatment. Diagnostic records may include a thorough patient health history, a visual examination of the teeth and supporting structures, plaster models of the teeth, a wax bite registration, extraoral and intraoral photographs, a panoramic and a cephalometric radiograph.

Elastics Rubber Bands –

During certain stages of treatment, small elastics or rubber bands are worn to provide individual tooth movement or jaw alignment.

Fixed Appliances –

An orthodontic appliance that is bonded or cemented to the teeth and cannot be or should not be removed by the patient.

Flossing –

Removes plaque and food debris from between the teeth, brackets and wires to keep teeth and gums clean and healthy during orthodontic treatment.

Functional Appliances –

Appliances that utilize the muscle action produced when speaking, eating and swallowing to produce force to move the teeth and align the jaws.

Headgear –

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

Interceptive Treatment –

Orthodontic treatment performed to intercept a developing problem. Usually performed on younger patients that have a mixture of primary (baby) teeth and permanent teeth.

Malocclusion –

The term used in orthodontics to describe teeth that do not fit together properly. From Latin, the term means "bad bite.”

Mouthguard –

A removable device used to protect the teeth and mouth from injury caused by sporting activities. The use of a mouthguard is especially important for orthodontic patients.

Nightguard –

A removable appliance worn at night to help an individual minimize the damage or wear while clenching or grinding teeth during sleep

Orthodontics –

The specialty area of dentistry concerned with the diagnosis, supervision, guidance and correction of malocclusions. The formal name of the specialty is orthodontics and dentofacial orthopedics.

Preventive Treatment –

Orthodontic treatment to prevent or reduce the severity of a developing malocclusion (bad bite).

Removable Appliance –

An orthodontic appliance that can be removed from the mouth by the patient. Removable appliances are used to move teeth, align jaws and to keep teeth in their new positions when the braces are removed (Auxiliary Appliances).

Retainer –

A fixed or removable appliance worn after the braces are removed. A removable retainer attaches to your upper and/or lower teeth and holds them in their finished positions.

Rubber Bands –

During certain stages of treatment, small elastics or rubber bands are worn to provide individual tooth movement or jaw alignment.

Wax –

Wax is placed on the brackets or archwires to prevent them from irritating the lips or cheeks.

Wires –

Also known as archwires, they are held in the brackets using small elastic o-rings or stainless steel wire ligatures. Wires are used to move the teeth.