Orthodontic Dictionary: Orthodontics Definitions

Orthodontics Definitions | St. Louis Orthodontic Group

At St. Louis Orthodontic Group, we understand the terminology can be a little daunting when it comes to orthodontics definitions. To help provide you with a bit more clarity, we have put together this list of some of the more common orthodontics definitions.

Orthodontics Definitions: Components of Braces

  • Appliance – Any device used by your orthodontist that attaches to your teeth and moves them or changes the shape of your jaw
  • Archwire – The main wire that guides the movement of your teeth. It is exchanged intermittently throughout your treatment as your teeth reposition
  • Band – A metal ring that encompasses the tooth and allows the brackets a way to be attached to your teeth
  • Bond – Seal of the orthodontic cement that adheres appliances in place
  • Bracket – The metal or ceramic piece bonded to your tooth meant to hold the archwire in place
  • Coil Spring – A spring placed between your brackets and over the archwire meant to open space between your teeth
  • Colored Ties– Colored ties are rubber rings (not to be confused with ‘rubberbands’ or ‘elastics’). They come in many fun colors and fasten archwires to brackets.
  • Elastic/Rubber Band – Small rubber band that hooks between different points on your appliances and applies pressure to guide your teeth to their desired position
  • Elastic Tie – The tiny rubber band that wraps around the brackets to keep the archwire in position
  • Headgear – An appliance that attaches to the patient’s head via neck straps. The device is meant to address severe bite problems
  • Hook – A small, metal arm to which elastics are attached
  • Ligature – A thin wire that positions your archwire into your brackets
  • Lip Bumper – An archwire with molded plastic that holds back lower jaw molars to allow more space for other teeth
  • Mouthguard – A shield for teeth and gums worn to protect the mouth during sporting activities
  • Palatal Expander – A device that widens the upper jaw
  • Retainer – A device worn after braces meant to hold teeth in place
  • Separator/Spacer – A small rubber ring that provides a space between teeth before bands can be attached
  • Tie Wire – A thin wire that is twisted around the bracket to hold the archwire in place
  • Wax – Provided to aid in mitigating cheek and lip irritation from braces

Orthodontics Definitions: Orthodontic Procedures

Orthodontics Definitions | Orthodontist in St. Louis

  • Banding – The process of placing bands on your teeth
  • Bonding – The process of placing brackets to your teeth
  • Cephalometic X-ray – An x-ray of the head that demonstrates position and growth of the face, jaws, and teeth
  • Consultation – A meeting with your orthodontist where your case is reviewed and treatment discussed
  • Debanding – The process in which the bands are removed from your teeth
  • Debonding – The process in which brackets are removed from your teeth
  • Impressions – The process of creating a study model mold of your teeth
  • Invisalign – A transparent alternative to traditional braces
  • Ligation – The process in which the archwire is attached to your brackets
  • Panoramic X-ray – An x-ray encompassing your entire head to capture teeth, jaws, and other facial aspects

Have More Questions About Orthodontics Definitions? Contact Us!

If you would like any of these orthodontics definitions clarified or would like further information on orthodontic treatments and options, contact us today to set up a free consultation with an orthodontist at one of our St. Louis area offices in Chesterfield, O’Fallon, and Fenton.