Activator An example of a functional brace.
Adhesive The “glue” used to stick brackets and bands to teeth.
Aligner A brace where the teeth are moved by a series of clear plastic aligners, each of which moves the teeth incrementally and gradually towards the intended goal. Not as powerful or as versatile as fixed “appliances.
Appliance An item used to move teeth. It may be removable or may be fixed to the teeth, or may be a combination of both. See also “Brace”.
Archwire A wire that is used as part of a fixed appliance, or fixed brace. It is usually made of metal and is designed to line the teeth into a pleasing arrangement.
Band A metal ring that is placed around a tooth as part of a fixed brace. Performs essentially the same purpose as a bracket but surrounds the tooth. See also “Fixed Brace”.
Band A metal ring that is placed around a tooth. It usually also carries a bracket or a tube on it, in which case it performs essentially the same purpose as the bracket or tube, but allows a different method of attaching it to the tooth.
Banding The process of selecting and placing a band on a tooth. See also “Direct Bonding” and ”Indirect Bonding”.
Bicuspids A term used generally in North America. Fourth and fifth teeth from the front of the mouth. Usually there are 2 bicuspids on each side, and in both jaws, so the average person has eight bicuspids overall. Also known as premolars.
Biteplane Similar to a biteramp. Usually used to unlock the bite. May be part of a removable brace or be added to a fixed brace.
Biteramp Similar to a biteblock, but used to unlock the bite AND direct the teeth. May be part of a removable brace or be added to a fixed brace.
Bitewing Radiograph A small X-ray designed to look at the area between the teeth. Very good for detecting caries.
Bonding The process of placing brackets on a tooth. See also “Direct Bonding” and A bonding process, where the brackets are placed on a plaster model of the patient’s teeth in a laboratory setting, before transferred to the patient’s mouth and stuck on the natural teeth using the chosen adhesive.
Brace An appliance used to move teeth. It may be removable or fixed, or a combination of both. See also ”Appliance”.
Bracket A component of a fixed brace, stuck to an individual tooth. May be stuck on the inside or the outside of the tooth. Performs essentially the same purpose as a band but does not surround the tooth. See also “Fixed Brace”
Canine The third tooth from the front of the mouth. Usually there is 1 canine on each side, and in both jaws, so the average person has four canines overall. See also “Cuspid”. Caries Dental decay.
CBCT Cone Beam Computerised Tomography – a means of getting a 3-dimensional view, usually of the jaws & teeth, and sometimes the skull also. Similar to a medical CT scan, taken differently and with much lower radiation.
CBVT Cone Beam Volumetric Tomography – different name for CBCT.
Cephalometric X-ray A profile X-ray taken to assess the relative sizes, positions and angles of the upper & lower jaws and their respective teeth.
Cingulum The natural bump on the inside of incisor teeth.
Clasp Part of a removable brace. Its purpose is to help to hold the brace in the mouth.
ClearStep An example of clear aligners.
Crossbite Where an upper tooth bites inside a lower tooth.
Crowding Where the overall width of the teeth is too large for the amount of bone.
Crown The part of the tooth that is visible in the mouth.
Cusp The pointy part of cheek tooth.
Cuspid Another term for Canine – frequently used in North America. Third tooth from the front of the mouth. Usually there is 1 cuspid on each side, and in both jaws, so the average person has four cuspids overall. See also “Canine”.
Deepbite When the overbite is excessive.
Direct Bonding A bonding process, where the brackets are placed directly on the patients natural teeth using the chosen adhesive.
Elastics Usually made of latex,and used to move the teeth. May be placed between the upper & lower jaws (in which case they are usually removable & changed by the patient) or within a single jaw (in which case they usually require the specialist to be adjusted)
Endodontics The specialised branch of dentistry that deals with root canal treatment.
Endodontist A dentist who has specialised training in endodontics.
Expander A device used to widen the jaw, usually the upper jaw. May be incorporated as part of a removable appliance, or may be stuck directly to the teeth using fixed bands.
Facebow The part of the headgear that connects the outside part to the brace inside the mouth.
Fixed Brace A brace that is stuck to the teeth. Usually composed of an archwire and a combination of brackets, tubes and bands to enable the force of the archwire to be applied to the teeth.
Frankel An example of a functional brace.
Functional Brace A brace that may be fixed, removable or a combination. It is used usually in growing patients only and utilises the forces generated by the patient’s own muscles to perform its function.
Headgear An addition to a brace, which extends around the back of the head and applies a backward force to the, usually, upper teeth.
Herbst A form of functional appliance but one that is fixed.
Impressions A means of getting a permanent record of the teeth. A soft material is placed around the teeth, is then allowed to set over a period of 1-2 minutes, then sent to the laboratory where a set of permanent models are made.
Implant An orthodontic implant is a small metal screw, that is screwed into the bone to allow a force to be applied while keeping it free of other teeth. It is usually placed for only a few months. Also known as a Temporary Anchorage device (TAD ) or as a Bone Anchorage device ( BAD ).
Incisal Edge The sharp, cutting edge of a font, or incisor, tooth.
Incisor Teeth at the front of the mouth. Usually there are 2 incisors on each side, and in both jaws, so the average person has eight incisors overall.
Incognito An example of lingual braces.
Indirect Bonding A bonding process, where the brackets are placed on a plaster model of the patients teeth in a laboratory setting, before transferred to the patient’s mouth and stuck on the natural teeth using the chosen adhesive.
Invisalign An example of clear aligners.
Ligature A means of tying the archwire to the bracket. It may be made of rubber or wire.
Lingual Braces A type of fixed braces where brackets are placed on the tongue side of the teeth.
Lip Bumper A component added to a fixed appliance. It sits inside the lip, is attached to the back teeth, and allows the force from the muscles of the lip to be transferred to the back teeth.
Malocclusion A general term for poor alignment of teeth or jaws. May be due to any combination of spacing, crowding or poor bone relationships.
Malocclusion - Class I malocclusion Where the upper and lower jaws are well balanced but the teeth are crowded or spaced.
Malocclusion - Class 2 malocclusion Where the upper jaw is relatively far forwards compared to the lower jaw. Crowding or spacing of the teeth may be superimposed on this adverse jaw relationship.
Malocclusion - Class 3 malocclusion Where the lower jaw is relatively far forwards compared to the upper jaw. Crowding or spacing of the teeth may be superimposed on this adverse jaw relationship.
Molar The large teeth at the back of the mouth. The first molar usually erupts at about age 6 and is mistakenly thought by parents to be the last “baby tooth”. The average person has 3 molars on each side, upper and lower, and so has 12 molars in all. The third molar is what is commonly called the wisdom tooth.
Moulds A term incorrectly used to refer to either study models or work models.
Openbite When there is a gap between the upper and lower teeth when the back teeth are biting together.
OPG See Panoramic X-ray
Overbite The vertical overlap of the upper front teeth over the lower front teeth.
Panoral See Panoramic X-ray | Panoramic X-ray An X-ray that usually shows all the teeth in the mouth on one X-ray film.
Panorax See Panoramic X-ray | Periapical Radiograph A small X-ray designed to look at the the whole crown & root of one or two teeth.
Periodontology The area of dentistry that deals in treatment of the gums and bone surrounding the teeth.
Periodontist A dentist who has special training in periodontology
Prosthododontics The area of dentistry that deals in the replacement of missing teeth.
Prosthodontist A dentist who has special training in prosthodontics
Plate Usually made of plastic and used to connect the various components of a removable brace.
Premolar Fourth and fifth teeth from the front of the mouth. Usually there are 2 premolars on each side, and in both jaws, so the average person has eight premolars overall. Also known as Bicuspids as they have 2 cusps.
Radiograph The correct term for what is usually called an X-Ray. A radiograph is the “picture” or image seen on the film, while the X-Ray is strictly the invisible beam that creates the image.
Removable Brace A brace that can be removed by the patient. Usually composed of wires to move the teeth, clasps to hold the brace in the mouth and a plastic plate to hold it all together. Not as powerful or as versatile as fixed appliances.
Retainer A brace that is used to keep the teeth straight after treatment has been completed. It may be stuck on or be removable. A common misuse of this term is to confuse it with a removable brace.
Root The part of the tooth that does not appear in the mouth.
Scissorsbite Where an upper cheek tooth bites fully outside its corresponding lower tooth.
Separator An item placed between back teeth to create a small, less than 1mm, space. This space then allows placement of a band at a subsequent appointment. It is usually made of rubber.
Six Month Brace A type of fixed brace that is designed to line up the front six teeth in a short period of time. Does not aim to treat any underlying bite problems.
Skeletal Malocclusion Where the jaws are out line with each other.
Spacing Where the overall width of the teeth is too small for the amount of bone.
Spring Component of a brace, made of metal and used to move teeth. Some springs are built into removable braces, and some are added as components to fixed braces.
Study Models A record of the teeth. Commonly made of plaster, but recently digital versions have been developed.
Tube Similar to a bracket, except a bracket can be opened to allow an archwire to be placed into it while a tube only enables something to be slipped into its open end.
Wisdom teeth The third molars in a patient’s mouth. Usually begin to erupt in the late ‘teens or early 20’s. Sometimes the require removal and sometimes they do not develop at all.
Work Models A record of the teeth, on which appliances are constructed. Made of plaster.