Applies to a variety of intra-oral devices that are attached to your teeth to help move your teeth or correct your bite.


A wire that is placed into the braces and guides the direction of tooth movement.

band (orthodontic)

A thin metal ring, usually stainless steel, which serves to secure an appliance (expander, Herbst) to a tooth. The band is closely adapted to fit the contours of each individual tooth and then cemented into place.


An orthodontic attachment made of metal or ceramic that holds the archwire to each tooth. 

ceramic brackets

Tooth-shade or clear brackets that some consider to be more attractive than conventional metal braces.


Series of elastic rings that are used to close spacing of the teeth.

coil spring

A small spring that fits between brackets to help open space for a crowded tooth.


The removal of the braces.

elastics (rubber bands)

Small rubber rings that a patient attached from a hook on an upper tooth to a lower tooth, they help to align the bite.

fixed retainer

A permanent retainer placed to the back (tongue) side of the front teeth to keep the teeth from moving.

habit appliance

An appliance designed to deter thumb or finger sucking habits.


Generic term for extraoral traction (attached around the back side of the head) for growth modification, tooth movement and anchorage.

Herbst appliance

Patients wear a Herbst to help align the upper and lower jaws (to correct what some refer to as "overbite")


An imprint or mold of the teeth used to design an individual's orthodontic treatment plan.

interceptive treatment

Interceptive treatment, also known as early treatment, is limited orthodontic treatment usually performed between the ages of 6 and 10. Some patients require early intervention to help them achieve certain developmental milestones. This phase of treatment makes future orthodontic treatment more efficient in addition to reducing the occurrence of permanent tooth extractions. 

lingual appliances

Orthodontic appliances fixed to the interior (tongue) side of teeth.


Of or pertaining to the upper jaw. May be used to describe teeth, orthodontic appliances or facial structures.


A mouthpiece that provides protection to the braces and teeth while the patient is playing a sport. Is also important in reducing incidence of concussion. 

palatal expander

Attached to the upper molars by cemented bands, the palatal expander takes advantage of adolescent growth and creates a wider space in the upper jaw.


Any orthodontic appliance, fixed or removable, used to maintain the position of the teeth following corrective treatment.

separator (spacer)

Small elastics that fit snugly between certain teeth to move them slightly so bands can be placed around them later.


Patients are instructed to place wax over a bracket or poking wire that is causing irritation to the lip or cheek.