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Common Orthodontic Terminology

Anterior Teeth: The front six upper and lower teeth on each jaw.

Appliance: Any device used in orthodontics to move or hold teeth, or adjust jaw position.

Arch: The upper or lower jaw.

Archwire: Metal wire connecting orthodontic brackets to guide teeth alignment.

Band with Bracket: Metal bands cemented around back teeth with attached brackets.

Braces: Fixed orthodontic appliances for teeth alignment.

Brackets: Small metal, ceramic, or clear attachments bonded to teeth for braces.

Brushing: Essential oral hygiene practice to remove food debris and plaque from teeth and gums.

Buccal: The outer (cheek) side of back teeth.

Cephalometric Radiograph: Side X-ray showing facial and head growth.

Chain: Elastic connected loops placed around brackets to stabilize archwires and close gaps.

Class I Malocclusion: Correct alignment of molars, but issues with front teeth, spacing, or bite.

Class II Malocclusion: Overbite, with upper front teeth positioned ahead of lower teeth.

Class III Malocclusion: Underbite, with lower front teeth positioned ahead of upper teeth.

Closed Bite: Upper front teeth overlap lower teeth, causing deep overbite.

Congenitally Missing Teeth: Permanent teeth that do not develop or erupt.

Crossbite: Upper or lower teeth positioned inside or outside opposing teeth.

De-banding: Removal of orthodontic bands from teeth.

De-bonding: Removal of bonded orthodontic brackets from teeth.

Diagnostic Records: Records used for treatment planning, including medical history, X-rays, and molds.

Digital Radiograph: Computer-stored X-rays of teeth.

Elastics: Rubber bands attached to braces for additional pressure.

Eruption: Teeth breaking through gums into the mouth.

Fixed Orthodontic Appliances: Braces permanently affixed to teeth by orthodontist.

Flossing: Cleaning between teeth and under gumline with dental floss.

Functional Appliances: Orthodontic devices using natural mouth movements to align teeth and jaws.

Gingiva: Gums and soft tissue around teeth.

Headgear: Removable appliance with brace and external wire to modify growth and tooth movement.

Impressions: Teeth molds used for treatment planning.

Interceptive Treatment: Early orthodontic treatment for children with mixed adult and baby teeth.

Invisalign®: Removable, transparent dental aligners for discreet tooth alignment.

Ligating Modules: Elastic rings securing archwire to brackets.

Ligation: Securing archwire to brackets.

Lingual Side: Side of teeth closest to tongue.

Malocclusion: Misalignment of teeth or jaws.

Mandible: Lower jaw.

Maxilla: Upper jaw.

Mouthguard: Removable device protecting teeth and braces during sports.

Open Bite: Upper and lower teeth do not touch, causing anterior or posterior malocclusion.

Orthodontics: Dental specialty correcting malocclusions and jaw irregularities.

Orthodontist: Specialist treating malocclusions and jaw irregularities.

Palatal Expander: Device expanding palate to correct crossbite or create space in upper jaw.

Panoramic Radiograph: External X-ray showing teeth and jaws.

Plaque: Sticky film on teeth containing bacteria, leading to decay and gum disease.

Posterior Teeth: Back teeth.

Removable Appliance: Orthodontic device removable by patient for daily wear.

Separators: Elastic rings or wire loops placed between teeth to create space.

Space Maintainer: Fixed appliance holding space for permanent teeth after early tooth loss.

Wax: Relief wax applied to braces for comfort.


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