Orthodontic Procedures/Terminology

Banding

Cementing orthodontic bands to the teeth.

Appliance

Anything that is attached to your teeth that moves your teeth or corrects you bite.

Antibacterial Mouthwash

Peroxyl, a hydrogen peroxide antiseptic mouth rinse, will reduce inflammation to your gums and cheeks. Peroxyl helps to prevent infection and decrease irritation that may develop from your braces. Rinse your mouth with two teaspoons of Peroxyl (half a capful) for one minute and then spit it out. You may use Peroxyl up to four times daily following your schedule for brushing: after meals (or after school) and before bed. Just like using peroxide for a scrape on your skin, Peroxyl helps the inside of your mouth heal. Peroxyl can be used for general irritation caused by your braces or for canker sores, cheek bites and other minor temporary injuries to the gums.

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.

Bond

A seal that is created by orthodontic cement that attaches the appliance to your tooth.

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.

Cleaning Your Removable Appliance

Brush your removable appliance every day as a part of your regular brushing and flossing schedule. Because food particles and plaque can accumulate on your appliance just as they do on your teeth, soak the appliance daily. Dissolve a Polident, Efferdent or other denture-cleaning tablet in a glass of tap water at room temperature and soak your appliance once every day. Your appliance will taste better, and you will prevent plaque and bacterial accumulation.

Elastics (rubber bands)

Used to move teeth in prescribed direction (commonly connected to molar band and upper ball hook).

Headgear

Generic term for extraoral traction (attached around the back side of the head) for growth modification, tooth movement and anchorage.

Headgear Tube

Attached to the back molar bands, this round hollow tube is where you place the inner bow of your headgear.

Hook

Small attachments on the brackets used to attach elastics (rubber bands).

Proxy Toothbrush

A Proxabrush is an interdental (between the teeth) toothbrush that you may use to clean underneath and around your wires and braces. Use the Proxabrush gently to avoid damaging your wires. The Proxabrush will help you to clean your braces while maintaining healthy teeth and gums.

Invisalign®

A modern alternative to traditional braces, the Invisalign system straightens your teeth using a series of clear, customized removable appliances called aligners. Invisalign can correct some orthodontic problems, but not severe problems.

Ligature

Used to hold an archwire in place, a ligature is made of thin wire.

Metal Braces

Metal braces are the most common type. They are made of high-grade stainless steel. Today's metal braces are smaller, more comfortable, and more attractive.

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.

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.

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