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Orthodontic Dictionary

Orthodontics comes with a language all its own. Drs. Savage, Sabol & Visser strive to help patients living in Virginia Beach, Norfolk, Chesapeake and Virginia’s eastern shore, as well as the surrounding areas, understand the process of wearing braces. This includes providing definitions for the most commonly used terms.

Archwire: This is the wire threaded through the brackets that applies a gentle force to direct teeth to move into desired positions.

Bands: The metallic band that fits around the back molars to act as an anchor for the archwires.

Brackets: The appliances cemented to teeth to hold the archwires in place. Brackets are typically made of metal, ceramic or plastic.

Ball hook: This is an appliance used to attach elastic bands used to move teeth into the correct spot.

Coil spring: This is a small spring placed around an arch wire to either maintain or increase the space between teeth.

Crowding: This is an issue in which there is not enough room for the teeth to come in straight so they tend to be misaligned or crowded together.

Elastic bands: These bands are made of rubber and are used to move teeth in the prescribed direction.

Elastic hook: hook soldered to band or bracket to serve as a place to hook your elastics to the teeth.

Elastic ligature: Ligatures are color or clear elastic ties used to secure the archwire to the bracket.

Gingiva: Also called “gums,” Gingiva is the soft, pink tissue around and between the teeth.

Headgear: This orthodontic appliance is a removable extraoral device used more commonly with younger orthodontic patients. It fits in the mouth around teeth and is strapped around the back of the head to improve the growth and dental development of the face and jaws.

Headgear tube: The tube is the part where the headgear is attached.

Lingual braces: Braces attached to the tongue side (back) of the teeth.

Orthognathic Surgery: This is the technical term for jaw surgery.

Orthodontist: A dental specialist who has received extensive and advanced training in a two to three specialty residency in the correction and straightening of misaligned teeth and jaws as well as other orthodontic issues.

Overbite: An overbite exists when the top teeth significantly overlap the bottom teeth.

Retainer: An orthodontic appliance worn following orthodontic treatment to keep newly straightened teeth in place.

Steel ligature: These ligatures are small, steel wires tied to each bracket to secure the archwire to the bracket.

The orthodontic dictionary is designed to provide information related to orthodontic terms used by orthodontists and their staff. If you live in Virginia Beach, Norfolk, Chesapeake or Virginia’s eastern shore, and have any questions or are considering orthodontics, Drs. Savage, Sabol & Visser welcome you to schedule a complimentary consultation at any of our five offices.