skip to main content
Orthodontics Glossary of Definitions | United Concordia

Glossary of Orthodontics Terms

A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I | J | K | L | M | N | O | P | Q | R | S | T | U | V | W | X | Y | Z


Acid Etch

The procedure of weak acid being smeared on the teeth to make them ready for brackets and to help the brackets stay on better


Any item that is attached to the teeth by the orthodontist to move the teeth or change the shape of the jaw


The shape of the dental arch

Arch Wire

A metal wire attached to your brackets to move the teeth



A metal ring placed on the teeth to hold parts of the braces


The process of cementing bands to the teeth


The process of attaching brackets to the teeth using a special glue


A metal or ceramic part that is glued onto a tooth and serves as a means of fastening the arch wire


A small plastic piece with an internal spring used to provide force on a facebow

Buccal Tube

A small metal part that is welded to the outside of a molar bank and contains a slot to hold archwires, lip bumpers and facebows



A head x-ray that shows if the teeth are aligned properly and if they are growing correctly

Closed Bite

The bite that occurs when upper teeth cover lower teeth during the biting process


A meeting with the orthodontist to discuss the treatment plan

Cross Bite

The bite that occurs when some of the upper teeth are inside the lower teeth during the biting process


A problem that results from having too many teeth in too small a space

Crown Angulation

The tooth movement where the root of the tooth is tipped forward or backward to correct the angle of the crown

Crown Inclination

The tooth movement where the root of the tooth is tipped toward the cheeks, lips or toward the palate of the mouth



The removal of cemented orthodontic bands


The removal of the brackets from the teeth

Deep Bite

An excessive overbite


Facebow and Headgear

A wire apparatus used to move uppers molars back to make room for crowded front teeth. Headgear is the part of the total apparatus



The process of making a mold of the teeth; bite impression is taken in a container filled with a substance that hardens to produce a mold of the teeth

Interceptive Orthodontic Treatment

A process usually performed when a child is 6-8 years of age to expand the palate and make other necessary corrections; helps make future orthodontic treatment go much quicker and less painful

Interproximal Stripping

The reduction of the enamel on the tooth to create space for crowded teeth



The components used to attached archwires to brackets

Ligating Module

A small plastic piece that is used to hold the arch wires in the brackets on the teeth


The process where an arch wire is attached to the brackets on the teeth

Lip Bumper

A piece used to push the molars on the lower jaw back to create more space for other teeth



A misalignment of the upper and lower teeth; also known as "bad bite"
Class I Malocclusion - A condition where the bite is correct, but teeth are crooked, crowded or turned
Class II Malocclusion - A condition where upper teeth stick out past your lower teeth. This is also called "overbite" or "buck teeth"
Class III Malocclusion - A condition where lower teeth stick out past the upper teeth. Also called an "underbite"


A removable appliance used to protect teeth from injury during athletic activities


Neck Pad

A device used in conjunction with the facebow


Orthodontic Chain

A stretchable plastic chain used to hold arch wires into brackets


Palatal Expander

A device used to make the jaw wider


Records Appointment

An initial appointment to determine what treatment needs to be done; x-rays, pictures of the individual and impressions are usually performed


A piece used while sleeping after braces are removed to ensure that none of the teeth move while the jaw hardens



A plastic or metal part that is used to create space between the teeth for bands


Tightening the Braces

The process that usually occurs every 3-6 weeks - adjustments are made to the wires in the braces or the wires are changed



A material used to prevent the braces from irritating the lips

Wax Bite

The process of biting on a sheet of wax to determine how well one's teeth come together