Orthodontic Terms

Arch Wire

The part of your braces which actually moves the teeth. The arch wire is slid through the brackets to facilitate tooth movement. Arch Wires are changed throughout the treatment to bring you closer to the ideal tooth position.

Brackets

Brackets are the “Braces” or small attachments that are bonded directly to the tooth surface. The brackets are the part of your braces to which the orthodontist or assistant attaches the arch wire.

Occasionally, a bracket may come loose and become an irritation to your mouth. You can remove the loose bracket and save it in an envelope to bring to the office. Call the office as soon as possible and make an appointment to re-glue the bracket.

Elastics (Rubber Bands)

At some time during treatment, it will be necessary to wear elastics to coordinate the upper and lower teeth and perfect the bite. Once teeth begin to move in response to elastics, they move rapidly and comfortably. If elastics (rubber bands) are worn intermittently, they will continually “shock” the teeth and cause more soreness. When elastics are worn one day and left off the next, treatment slows to a standstill or stops. Sore teeth between appointments usually indicate improper wear of elastics or inadequate hygiene. Wear your elastics correctly, attaching them as you were told. Wear elastics all the time, unless otherwise directed. Take your elastics off while brushing. Change elastics as directed, usually 3-4 times a day.

Malocclusion

Poor positioning of the teeth.

Types of Malocclusion:

Class 1

A Malocclusion where the bite is OK (the top teeth line up with the bottom teeth) but the teeth are crooked, crowded or turned.

Class 2

A Malocclusion where the upper teeth stick out past the lower teeth.

Class 3

A Malocclusion where the lower teeth stick out past the upper teeth. This is also called an “underbite”.

Occlusion

The alignment and spacing of your upper jaw and lower teeth when you bite down.

Types of Occlusion:

Openbite

Anterior opening between upper and lower teeth.

Overbite

Vertical overlapping of the upper teeth over the lower.

Overjet

Horizontal projection of the upper teeth beyond the lower.

Crossbite

When top teeth bite inside the lower teeth. It can occur with the front teeth or back teeth.

Separator

Rubber bands, also know as separators help the orthodontist create space between your teeth for bands.