Glossary of Terms

Archwire — A wire engaged in orthodontic attachments, affixed to the crowns of two or more teeth and capable of causing or guiding tooth movement.

band (orthodontic)A thin metal ring, usually stainless steel, which serves to secure orthodontic attachments to a tooth. The band, with orthodontic attachments welded or soldered to it, is closely adapted to fit the contours of the tooth and then cemented into place.

bracket — An orthodontic attachment that is secured to a tooth (either by bonding or banding) for the purpose of engaging an archwire. Brackets can be fabricated from metal, ceramic or plastic.

ceramic brackets (clears) — Crystalline, alumina, tooth-shade or clear synthetic sapphire brackets that are aesthetically more attractive than conventional metal attachments.

crowding — Dental malalignment caused by inadequate space for the teeth.

debanding — The removal of cemented orthodontic bands.

elastics (rubber bands)Used to move teeth in prescribed direction (commonly connected to molar band and upper ball hook). Found in numerous colors for better appearance.

gingiva — The tissue that surrounds the teeth, consisting of a fibrous tissue that is continuous with the periodontal ligament and mucosal covering.

Herbst applianceFixed or removable appliance designed commonly for overbite problems and more.

imaging — The process of acquiring representations of structures in either two or three dimensions.

lingual — Of or pertaining to the tongue. A term used to describe surfaces and directions toward the tongue.

maxillary — Of or pertaining to the upper jaw. May be used to describe teeth, dental restorations, orthodontic appliances or facial structures.

micro-implant –  Miniature implants that can be used temporarily to move teeth in ways never before possible and easily removed after the tooth movement is complete.

orthodontist — Orthodontists have two to three years of specialized education beyond dental school, including a residency supervised by orthodontists. This residency is accredited by the American Dental Association in the special area of orthodontics. Because of the rapid technological advances in the various fields of dentistry, it is virtually impossible for any one dentist to be proficient in all of them.

NiTi & CuNiTi Wires — Nickel Titanium wires utilize super flexible material properties in order to maximize patient comfort and ensure long acting range which space out adjustment intervals and decreases the number of office visits for patients.  These wires were originally developed by NASA engineers to create a thin satellite antenna that could be wound up into a very compact compartment and later expanded to its full length without deformation.  In orthodontics, some NiTi wires such as CuNiTi’s used have heat sensitive properties which further increase patient comfort.  Jennings Orthodontics utilizes NiTi & CuNiTi wires for all of our patients.

orthognathic surgerySurgery to alter relationships of teeth and/or supporting bones, usually accomplished in conjunction with orthodontic therapy.

overbite — Vertical overlapping of upper teeth over lower teeth, usually measured perpendicular to the occlusal plane.

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. Jennings Orthodontics uses ultra-low radiation digital x-rays for our patients.

retainer — Any orthodontic appliance, fixed or removable, used to maintain the position of the teeth following corrective treatment.

retention — The passive treatment period following active orthodontic correction during which retaining appliances may be used.

self-ligating brackets — Braces specially designed to reduce friction experienced at the bracket wire interface.  These special types of braces have been reported to reduce treatment time and reduce the number of office visits for patients.  Jennings Orthodontics utilizes self-ligating brackets.

straight wire applianceA variation of the edgewise appliance in which brackets are angulated to minimize multiple archwire bends. Brackets and molar tubes have specific orientation in three planes of space.