Dr. Randy Wright and our team are happy to offer a glossary of the common terms you will hear while visiting our office for orthodontic treatment. We encourage you to become familiar with the definitions of these terms to help you better understand, and become comfortable with, the world of orthodontics.

Appliance – Anything that is attached to your teeth to shift their positions and improve your bite.

Archwire – A metal wire that is part of the braces system. It is fixed to the crowns of two or more teeth to aid in proper tooth movement.

Band (orthodontic) – A metal ring (usually comprised of stainless steel) that secures the orthodontic appliance to the tooth. It is matched to the contours of the tooth and then fixed in place.

Bracket – An attachment, usually made of metal, plastic, or ceramic, that secures the archwire against each tooth. Each bracket has a slot for the archwire to fit into and is bonded to a tooth or to the orthodontic band.

Ceramic bracket – A clear bracket that is designed to be more synthetically appealing. It may be alumina, crystalline, clear synthetic sapphire, or shaded to match the color of the tooth.

Chain – An elastic chain that secures the archwires to the brackets.

Coil spring – a spring that fits over the archwire and between the brackets.

Debanding –  Removing cemented orthodontic bands.

Elastics (rubber bands) – Tiny rings of rubber that sercure the archwire to the bracket. Elastics are available in a variety of colors.

Fixed retainer – A nonremovable retainer that is attached to the backside of the front teeth to keep them permanently fixed in place.

Habit appliance – An appliance worn by children to deter finger and thumb sucking.

Headgear – An extraoral device that is fitted around the head to aid in growth modification and tooth movement and anchorage.

Herbst appliance – A removable or fixed appliance that treats overbite.

Impressions – Molds or imprints of the teeth to aid in designing a treatment plan.

Interceptive treatment – Also known as early treatment, interceptive treatment is performed between the ages of 6 and 10 to reduce the complexity of orthodontic treatment later on.

Lingual appliances – Appliances bonded to the backside of the teeth.

MARA appliance – an orthodontic appliance that draws the lower jaw forward to correct overbites.

Maxillary – Pertaining to the lower jaw. It can refer to dental restorations, appliances, facial structure, and teeth.

Mouth guard – An appliance that cushions and protects the teeth and braces during sports activities.

Palatal expander – a device that is bonded or attached with rubber bands to the upper molars in order to widen the upper jaw.

Radiograph – An image produced digitally or on film, also commonly referred to as an X-ray.

Retainer – a fixed or removable orthodontic device that is applied after orthodontic treatment to maintain the new position of the teeth.

Separator (spacer) – A small elastic that is placed between teeth to provide enough space for bands to be fitted around them later on.

Wax – A substance that can be placed over a bracket or wire that is causing irritation to the mouth.

During your initial visit to Wright Orthodontics and throughout your treatment, we will ensure you fully understand each step and what is expected of you to enhance your results. Please feel free to contact our office at 630-208-1200 if you have any questions or would like to schedule a visit with our orthodontist in Batavia, Illinois.