At first, orthodontics may seem complicated, and if all of the terms and phrases have left you a little confused, our orthodontist will be happy to answer any questions that you may have to make the treatment process as easy as possible. If you would like to talk with Dr. Adebimpe Bebe Ibitayo about your treatment or anything regarding your oral health, call UC Smiles Orthodontics. We can see you for a visit for orthodontic information in Universal City and San Antonio, Texas. You can begin by visiting our glossary.

Appliance – This refers to various gadgets we attach to the teeth to make them straight. Types of orthodontic appliances include:

  • Habit Appliance – These are used in younger children who have a habit of thumb-sucking.
  • Herbst Appliance – These are attached to the mouth, but can sometimes be removable, and are made to correct overbites.
  • Lingual Appliance – These are attached to the inside of the teeth.
  • MARA Appliance – These help to push the lower jaw into place in order to fix an overbite.
  • Palatal Expander Appliance – These are attached with cement to the back molars to help widen the jaw.
  • Retainer Appliance – These are often used after orthodontic treatment and aid in keeping the position of the teeth where it should be.

Archwire – The wire that runs through the brackets, guiding the teeth in the direction they should move.

Band – A metal ring that fits around the teeth after the separators have made space. Orthodontic attachments are then secured to the bands.

Brackets – The orthodontic attachments that are cemented to each tooth. They are typically made of metal but can also be plastic or ceramic. The archwire runs through the brackets to gently pull or push the teeth in the right direction.

  • Ceramic Brackets – Orthodontic attachments that are less noticeable than metal ones as they are generally made from clear or tooth-colored synthetic materials.

Chain or Elastic – A small elastic that wraps around the brackets to hold the archwires in place.

Coil Spring – A coil that is inserted over the archwire to help direct the teeth.

Debanding – When the orthodontic bands come off and the cement is removed.

Headgear – A piece that helps to move the teeth and modify growth. It is worn around the head.

Impressions – A tooth mold that is taken so the orthodontist can come up with the best treatment course.

Interceptive Treatment – An early treatment phase that makes later treatment easier on the patient.

Maxillary – A word used to describe something that relates to the upper jaw. This includes facial structure, dental work, appliances or teeth.

Mouthguard – An appliance that is worn over the braces to protect patients who play sports.

Radiograph – An image similar to X-rays, and often referred to as X-rays. They are made with ionizing radiation and can stay in a patient’s file forever.

Separator – Also known as a spacer, these are small elastics that are inserted between teeth. This gives the orthodontist the space needed to attach bands.

Wax – Something that patients are given to place over irritable places on the braces. It is generally placed on brackets or wires that cut and poke the inside of the mouth.