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Exam Letters

Your exam letter may include orthodontic vocabulary that need a little defining. We're here to help.

Below is a list of terms that you may hear during your time with us, or that you may read in your exam letter. After reviewing your exam letter, if you have any further questions about your diagnosis, please don’t hesitate to call the office at 843.293.3522


Glossary Terms

Appliances

Anything the orthodontist attaches to your teeth to move your teeth or to change the shape of your jaw.


Archwire

A metal wire which is attached to your brackets to move your teeth.


Bands

A metal ring that is usually placed on your teeth to hold on parts of your braces.


Banding

The process of cementing orthodontic bands to your teeth.


Bonding

The process of attaching brackets to your teeth using a special safe adhesive.


Bracket

Brackets are the small metal or ceramic modules attached to each tooth. They serve as guides to move the teeth and hold the archwire in place.


Buccal Tube

A small metal part that is welded on the outside of a molar band. The molar band contains slots to hold archwires, lip bumpers, facebows and other things your orthodontist uses to move your teeth.


Cephalometric X-Ray

An x-ray of the head that shows if your teeth are aligned and growing properly.


Chain

A stretchable plastic chain used to hold archwires into brackets and to move teeth.


Class I

The classification of bites are broken up into three main categories: Class I, II, and III. Class I is a normal relationship between the upper teeth, lower teeth and jaws or balanced bite.


Class II

The classification of bites are broken up into three main categories: Class I, II, and III. Class II is where the lower first molar is posterior (or more towards the back of the mouth) than the upper first molar. In this abnormal relationship, the upper front teeth and jaw project further forward than the lower teeth and jaw. There is a convex appearance in profile with a receding chin and lower lip. Class II problems can be due to insufficient growth of the lower jaw, an over growth of the upper jaw or a combination of the two. In many cases, Class II problems are genetically inherited and can be aggravated by environmental factors such as finger sucking. Class II problems are treated via growth redirection to bring the upper teeth, lower teeth and jaws into harmony.


Class III

Class I is a normal relationship between the upper teeth, lower teeth and jaws or balanced bite. Class III is where the lower first molar is anterior (or more towards the front of the mouth) than the upper first molar. In this abnormal relationship, the lower teeth and jaw project further forward than the upper teeth and jaws. There is a concave appearance in profile with a prominent chin. Class III problems are usually due to an overgrowth in the lower jaw, undergrowth of the upper jaw or a combination of the two. Like Class II problems, they can be genetically inherited.


Debonding

The removal of cemented orthodontic brackets.


Elastics

Elastics or rubber bands for braces help move the upper and lower teeth relative to each other, ultimately achieving a better bite. The orthodontic rubber bands are typically effective for correcting overbites, underbites, or other types of alignments of the jaw. They are also useful for moving a tooth out of alignment or to close a space in the mouth.


Extractions

Extractions of impacted or problematic wisdom teeth to make space for orthodontic treatment.


Fixed Retainer

Fixed retainers consist of a metal wire bonded to the back of the teeth. Fixed retainers can stay in place indefinitely.


Forsus

The forsus is a fixed appliance that is used for dental asymmetry corrections when a higher force is needed. This appliances allows the patient to open and move the jaw freely.


Herbst

An appliance that is designed to correct bites and improve facial profiles.


Impressions

The first step in making a model of your teeth. You bite into a container filled with a rubber-type material. That material hardens to produce a mold of your teeth.


Interceptive Treatment

Orthodontic treatment that is usually done between the ages of 6 and 10. The objective of interceptive orthodontic treatment is to provide orthopedic intervention, so that later orthodontic treatment goes quicker and is less painful.


Interproximal Reduction (IPR)

Interproximal reduction (IPR) is the removal of small amounts of outer enamel tooth surface between two adjacent teeth. It is a means to acquire additional space to create ideal tooth alignment. Alternative names include: slenderizing, stripping, enamel reduction, and reproximation.


Invisalign attachments

Little dots that are bonded to the surface of teeth to add texture and to allow application of pressure through the InvisAlign tray


Invisalign Buttons

Used to attach elastics to assist with alignment of teeth and jaws during Invisalign treatment


Invisalign Tray

The plastic form that fits over your teeth that are worn for 22 hours a day to move teeth without braces.


Ligation

A process where an archwire is attached to the brackets on your teeth


Ligating Module

A small plastic piece, shaped like a donut, which is used to hold the archwires in the brackets on your teeth.


Mouthguard

A device that is used to protect your mouth form injury when you are participating in sports. The use of a mouthguard is especially important for orthodontic patients, to prevent injuries.


Orthodontic Adjustment

An evaluation of your progress where your wires may be changed to keep your treatment on track and moving forward.


Orthodontic Photographs

Pictures taken upon the completion of treatment show the amazing changes that the orthodontics has achieved in both growth and development of the teeth, jaws and aesthetics of the smile. The orthodontist uses the pictures throughout treatment to monitor changes


Orthodontic Records

These records, which include cephalometric and panoramic x-rays, digital photos and study models, help your orthodontist determine what treatment needs to be done.


Palatal Expander

A palatal expander, also known as a rapid palatal expander, rapid maxillary expansion appliance, palate expander or orthodontic expander, is used to widen the upper jaw so that the bottom and upper teeth will fit together better.


Panoramic X-Ray

A x-ray taken by a machine that rotates around your head to give your orthodontist a picture of your teeth, jaws and other important information.


Phase 1 Treatment

Phase 1 treatment is oftentimes necessary for younger patients to establish the proper “foundation” for future dental and facial development as they become adolescents and permanent dentition erupts. Narrow upper and lower jaws or situations where the back teeth are in a crossbite situation are typical.


Phase 2 Treatment

The use of braces and or orthodontic appliances when all the adult teeth have erupted.


Retainer (Removable Retainer)

A gadget that the orthodontist gives you to wear after your braces are removed. The retainer attaches to your upper and / or lower teeth and holds them in the correct position while your jaw hardens and your teeth get strongly attached to your jaw. At first, you wear the retainer 24 hours a day, and then only at night.


Rubber Bands

During various phases of treatment, small elastics or rubber bands are used as a gentle but continuous force to help individual tooth movement or the aligning of jaws.


Separators

Separators are tiny rubber bands or springs that your orthodontist places between your back teeth. These separators prepare your mouth for braces by creating a small gap between these teeth. This space allows for the placement of a metal band around your molar, which anchors your braces in your mouth.


Spacing

Spaces between teeth are another common problem treated with orthodontics. Like crowding, spacing may be related to a tooth-to-jaw size disharmony.


Surgery

Orthognathic surgery is surgery performed on the bones of the jaws to change their positions. It may be considered for functional, cosmetic, or health reasons. It is surgery commonly performed on the jaws in conjunction with orthodontic treatment, which straightens the teeth.


Two Phase Treatment

Two phase orthodontic treatment is a very specialized process that encompasses tooth straightening and physical, facial changes. The major advantage of a two-phase treatment is to maximize the opportunity to accomplish the ideal healthy, functional, and esthetic result that will remain stable throughout your life.


Wax

A clear wax used to prevent your braces from irritating your lips or cheeks when your braces are first put on, or at other times.


Wax Bite

A procedure to measure how well your teeth come together. You bite a sheet of wax and leave bitemarks in the wax. This helps the orthodontist relate the upper and lower models of your teeth together.