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Glossary

archwire

A wire engaged in orthodontic attachments, or braces, 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, is closely adapted to fit the contours of the tooth and then cemented into place.

bracket or bond

An orthodontic attachment that is secured to a tooth for the purpose of engaging an archwire. Brackets are fabricated of metal, ceramic or plastic.

crowding

Dental malalignment caused by inadequate space for the teeth.

debanding

The removal of cemented orthodontic bands or bonds.

elastics (rubber bands)

Used to move teeth in a prescribed direction. Must be worn at all times.

gingiva

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

headgear

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

Herbst appliance

Fixed or removable appliance designed to correct a lower jaw that is positioned too far back.

lingual

A term used to describe surfaces and directions toward the tongue.

lingual appliances

Orthodontic appliances fixed to the lingual surface of the teeth.

mandibular

Of or pertaining to the lower jaw.

maxillary

Of or pertaining to the upper jaw.

orthodontist

A dental specialist who has completed an advanced post-doctoral course, accredited by the American Dental Association, of at least two academic years in the field of tooth movement and dental facial orthopedics.

orthognathic surgery

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

overbite

Vertical overlapping of the upper teeth over the lower teeth.

radiograph

A permanent image, produced by ionizing radiation. Sometimes called an X-ray after the most common source of image-producing radiation.

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.