Welcome to our Glossary page! Here, you’ll find a cheat sheet for some of the different orthodontic and dental terms that we might use!

Orthodontic appliances may be removable or fixed to your teeth. They are utilized to pull, push, or hold your jawbones in a particular direction with a calculated amount of force to deliver a functional and healthy smile.

Archwires refer to metal wires that fit into the metal brackets of your braces. They are essential for helping to guide your teeth into their new position. The archwire may need to be changed on occasion to help your teeth move accordingly.

The metal ring that is attached to your tooth with dental cement and totally encircles the tooth, is the band. The bands are required as a component to attach the brackets to your teeth.

Banding refers to cementing and fitting the metal orthodontic bands around the back molars in most instances. These bands are removed with ease once your treatment is complete and your braces are removed.

Bonding refers to attaching the brackets to your teeth. A preparation with an etchant and a primer is placed on the teeth at first to make a stronger bond. The bracket comes next and is put into place with adhesive. A special light cures and hardens the adhesive and solidifies the brackets onto your teeth.

Brackets are carefully bonded onto your teeth and the archwire is attached. Brackets may be traditional metal or clear ceramic.

A “ceph” is a common type of radiograph to accompany your diagnostic records. It gives the doctor vital information on how the lower and upper jaws are positioned. This X-ray also details the angles of the teeth. Growth projections can be predicted from this procedure.

Coil springs are situated in between your brackets and over top of the archwire. They function to create space for crowded teeth.

Debonding or debanding refers to the removal of orthodontic brackets or bands from your teeth.

Elastic bands are used for many different reasons. They are commonly employed to help close spaces by improving the fit of your upper and lower teeth. The dentist will explain how to use your elastics and why they are important. Elastics are typically worn at all times when they are prescribed, except for brushing and eating.

Elastic ties are tiny rubber bands available in lots of fun colours. They are used to hold the archwire onto the brackets. At each orthodontic visit, these ties are changed and new elastic colours can be chosen.

Headgear refers to a removable appliance that is used to fix discrepancies between lower and upper jaw size. It is utilized to modify facial growth. The most popular headgear appliance features an inner bow. This bow connects to the upper molars along with an outer bow that attaches to a neck strap. This headgear is chosen when the upper jaw is situated ahead of the lower jaw.

Another headgear appliance is available to correct the opposite situation. When the lower jaw is growing more than the upper jaw, an underbite occurs. The reverse headgear works together with a fixed upper appliance. Generally, headgear is worn at night for approximately 10 to 12 hours a day. Depending on how severe the orthodontic correction needed, the average wear time is 9 to 12 months.

Dental impressions are used to make models of your teeth. The dentist uses these models to plan your treatment and to customize appliances. Commonly referred to as “molds,” dental impressions rely on the patient biting into a soft material that hardens fast to make dental replications.

Invisalign is an orthodontic treatment that uses clear, removable trays to straighten the teeth. Clear aligners are custom-made trays that straighten the teeth. The Invisalign needs to be worn up to 23 hours a day, only out of the mouth during eating and brushing. It may not be suitable for all clients.

Ligation is the process of attaching the archwire to the brackets.

Ligatures can be either metal or elastic. It describes the material that is used to attach the archwire to your bracket.

A popular appliance that features bands put on both lower first molars. It is attached by a heavy wire that sits discreetly behind the lower front teeth. It functions to preserve the arch space and stop further crowding.

Lip Bumper describes an appliance made of thick wire with a plastic overlying piece that sits in bands on the lower first molars. This apparatus stops the lower lip from becoming trapped under the gap between the lower and upper front teeth.

The mouthguard is an essential piece of sports equipment. It is often advised to protect the mouth and teeth from being injured. Mouthguards can be custom molded to offer comfort and security to your smile while offering protection from an elbow, another player, a stick, puck, or ball from damaging your teeth.

The palatal expander gently expands the upper arch with minute movements in a controlled way. It is used to fix a crossbite, make more arch space and stop the shift of the lower jaw when biting. The expander puts slight pressure on the palatal bone and upper teeth each time a special screw is turned or adjusted. This appliance is worn on average for 6 to 8 months to ensure the correction stabilizes. Sometimes, the expander is replaced with a retainer after it is removed.

Often called a “pan,” this kind of radiograph is a type of tomography. This translates to images of many planes are taken to generate the composite panoramic image. A panoramic radiograph is often required as part of your diagnostic records. It offers specific diagnostic information to help determine your custom treatment plan.

Retainers are used once the active portion of your orthodontic treatment is complete. They help to stabilize the teeth in their new positions. Retainers can be fixed or removable depending on the specific type of orthodontic situation. It is essential to follow directions for wearing your retainer to get optimum results.

Separators or spacers are miniature rubber bands put between molar tissue to generate a small amount of space. Separators are often in place for only 7 to 10 days. This space can be utilized to fit bands around the teeth to attach other appliances or archwires.

The trans-palatal arch is the upper arch equal of the lower holding arch. It is made up of bands around the first molars that are attached by a heavy wire. It is responsible for holding space for the new adult teeth. It can also be used to stop relapse after upper arch expansion.

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Communication is Key

We understand that quality orthodontic care starts with open communication. Right from the beginning, our orthodontists take as much time as necessary to thoroughly explain all of his diagnostic findings and recommended treatment plan(s), including any alternative treatment options.

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Our friendly and professional team at Mission Creek Orthodontics takes pride in providing you and your family with a relaxed, warm and comforting environment. We strive to offer a consistent, comprehensive and enjoyable dental experience.

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Our team knows that orthodontic treatment can be a big investment. To help fit it into your specific budget, we are happy to offer zero-interest payment arrangements. And our new patient coordinator is here to answer all your questions regarding your insurance.

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