Orthodontist Dictionary

Understanding the Terminology of Orthodontics.

Orthodontist Dictionary
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Appliance: An appliance refers to any item that attaches to your teeth with the goal of moving them. Appliances are also utilized to change the shape of your jaw.

Archwire: Archwire is the metal wire that functions as a track in order to guide your teeth a specific way as they gradually move. Periodically, the archwire is changed as the treatment progresses and your teeth are guided into their new positions.

Band: The metal ring that is temporarily cemented to your tooth and completely encircles your tooth like a ring is called a band. These are used to attach brackets to your teeth.

Banding: Banding refers to the process of fitting and attaching orthodontic bands to your teeth with orthodontic cement. The bands are removed along with the braces.

Bond: Orthodontic cement creates a seal that holds your appliances in place by creating a secure bond.

Bonding: Bonding refers to the process of attaching brackets to your teeth by utilizing specialized orthodontic cement.

Bracket: Brackets can either be ceramic or metal and are bonded to your tooth with cement. The brackets are responsible for holding your archwire in place.

Cephalometic X-ray: A Cephalometic X-ray is an X-ray of your head that shows the relative growth and positions of the teeth, jaws and face.

Coil Spring: A coil spring is a spring that fits in between your brackets and over your archwire. It is placed to open space between your teeth.

Debanding: Debanding refers to the process of removing the orthodontic bands that have been cemented to your teeth.

Debonding: Having the cemented orthodontic brackets removed from your teeth is known as debonding.

Elastic or Rubber Band: Tiny rubber bands are used to hook between various points on your appliance in order to provide the necessary pressure to move your teeth into their new position.

Elastic Tie: Elastic ties are little rubber bands that hold your archwire in place by fitting around your bracket. These elastics come in a variety of colors.

Headgear: Headgear is an apparatus that uses an external wire mechanism called a facebow in order to guide the growth of your jaw and face and moving your teeth into their correct position. A spring-loaded head strap or neck strap applies force to the facebow. The strap has a safety release which disconnects in case the facebow is snagged or pulled.

Headgear Tube: The headgear tube is a hollow, round attachment located on your back bands and the inner bow of your headgear fits into it.

Hook: The hook is a removable or welded arm onto which elastics can be attached.

Impressions: Impressions of your teeth are taken and a model of your teeth is created by biting into a soft material that hardens into a replica mold of your teeth.

Invisalign: Invisalign is a process of straightening your teeth by using a series of clear custom-molded aligners. Invisalign is used as an alternative to traditional braces. It can be used to correct certain orthodontic problems; however, not all of them.

Ligation: Ligation refers to the routine of attaching the archwire to the brackets on your teeth.

Ligature: The ligature is a thin wire that is responsible for holding your archwire securely into your bracket.

Lingual Arch: A lingual arch is situated on lower molars to prevent them from shifting when forces are used during orthodontic treatment or when teeth are lost. The 2 sides of the lingual arch are connected with a wire bar and rests comfortably below the teeth.

Lip Bumper: A lip bumper is actually an archwire which is attached to a molded piece of plastic. The lip bumper provides more space for your other teeth by holding back the molars on your lower jaw.

Mouthguard: A mouthguard is an important device that is used to protect your mouth from being injured when you participate in rigorous activities or sports. They can be custom molded to fit your teeth precisely in order to keep them safe if you get hit in the face any way.

Palatal Expander: The palatal expander widens your upper jaw by applying gentle pressure on you upper molars every time an adjustment is made. Your Orthodontist will give you specific instructions about how and when to adjust your expander in order to achieve maximum results. When the desired expansion has been attained, you will wear the appliance for many months in order to prevent regression and to solidify the expansion.

Panoramic X-ray: Panoramic X-rays are taken by rotating around your head in order to acquire pictures of your facial, jaw and teeth areas.

Retainer: Once your braces are taken off, a retainer appliance is used. The retainer attaches to your lower or upper teeth in order to hold them in their correct position. Certain retainers are bonded to the tongue-side of several teeth and others are removable.

Separators or Spacer: Spacers or separators are tiny rubber rings that can be placed between your teeth in order to push them apart so that orthodontic bands can be placed at your next appointment. The separators are taken out prior to the bands being placed. Floss, toothpicks and sticky foods may accidentally dislodge separators. If this does occur, be sure to call the office as soon as possible so they can be replaced prior to your next appointment.

Tie Wire: A tie wire is a fine wire which is twisted around your bracket in order to hold the archwire in its correct position.

Trans-Palatal Arch: A trans-palatal arch is similar to a lingual arch. It is placed on the upper molars. Palatal arches are used for many reasons including to prevent relapse and after a palatal expansion takes place. At times, a smooth, tiny acrylic button is placed on the arch in order to stop the upper teeth from moving forward during treatment.


Mission Creek Orthodontics

Contact Information

3975 Lakeshore Rd Suite 202
Kelowna , British Columbia
V1W 1V3

Phone: 778-477-5770

Email Us

Hours of Operation

Monday: 8:30 AM - 4:30 PM

Tuesday: 8:30 AM - 5:00 PM

Wednesday: 9:30 AM - 6:00 PM

Thursday: 8:30 AM - 5:00 PM


Dr. Pollard is awesome. I have been taking my daughter there since October and we have been very happy with the way we are treated by Dr. Pollard and his...

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My daughter is seeing Dr. Pollard for her braces. Very friendly guy and the staff are great as well. They did an excellent job of explaining the problem,...

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Dr. Pollard at Mission Creek Ortho is treating my son and daughter and so far I have been extremely impressed with everything. He is very polite and...

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