Appliance: Anything your orthodontist attaches to your teeth to move them or adjust the shape of your jaw.
Archwire: The metal wire that goes through your brackets. It is changed periodically throughout treatment, acting as a track to guide your teeth as they move.
Band: The metal ring that is cemented around your tooth, providing a way to attach brackets to your teeth.
Banding: The process of fitting and cementing orthodontic bands to your teeth.
Bond: The seal created by orthodontic cement that holds your appliances in place.
Bonding: The process of attaching brackets to your teeth using special orthodontic cement.
Bracket: The metal or ceramic part of the braces that is bonded to your tooth. Brackets hold your archwire in place.
Cephalometric X-ray: An X-ray of your head that shows the relative positions and growth of the jaws and teeth.
Coil Spring: A spring that sometimes is placed between your brackets and over your archwire. This helps to open space between your teeth.
Consultation: The initial meeting with your orthodontist to discuss a treatment plan.
Debanding: The process of removing cemented orthodontic bands from your teeth.
Debonding: The process of removing cemented orthodontic brackets from your teeth.
Elastic (Rubber Band): The rubber band that is hooked between different points on your appliance. The elastic provides pressure to move your teeth to a new position.
Elastic Tie: The tiny rubber band that fits around your bracket. These hold the archwire in place and come in a variety of colors.
Headgear (facebow): Headgear is an external wire apparatus that gently guides the growth of your face and jaw via your teeth. A spring-loaded neck strap or head strap applies force, but can also be disconnected with a special release if the facebow is pulled or snagged.
Headgear Tube: A round, hollow attachment on your back bands that is made to fit the inner bow of your headgear.
Hook: The arm that elastics are attached to.
Impressions: A mold of your teeth that your orthodontist will create in order to determine your orthodontic treatment plan.
Invisalign®: A series of clear, custom-molded aligners that can sometimes straighten teeth as an alternative to traditional braces. Your orthodontist will let you know if your problems can be corrected with Invisalign®.
Ligation: The process of attaching the archwire to your brackets.
Ligature: The thin wire that holds your archwire into your bracket.
Lip Bumper: An archwire attached to a molded piece of plastic that holds back the molars on your lower jaw to provide more space for your other teeth.
Mouthguard: A device that protects your mouth and braces from injury, to be used when playing sports.
Palatal Expander: A device that widens your upper jaw.
Panoramic X-ray: An X-ray that rotates around your head, taking pictures of your teeth, jaw, and face.
Retainer: An appliance that is worn after your braces are removed to keep your teeth from moving. Retainers can either be removable or bonded to the inside of teeth.
Separator (or Spacer): A small rubber ring that creates space between your teeth to help your orthodontist attach your bands.
Tie Wire: The thinner wire that is twisted around your bracket to hold the archwire in place.
Wax: A take-home substance you can use to keep your braces from irritating your lips or gums.