Before coming into our office it may be helpful to familiarize yourself with some of the common words used in Orthodontics today. Below are some terms that we find useful that may help you feel more comfortable when coming into our offices. We look forward to seeing you soon!
Parts of Your Braces
Aligner - A thin clear plastic custom-made appliance which can provide orthodontic force to teeth.
Appliance - Any device used to influence the growth or position of teeth.
Arch wire - A metal wire which is attached to your brackets to move your teeth.
Attachment - A small tooth-colored bump bonded to your teeth to aid in orthodontic movement.
Band - A thin metal ring which serves to secure orthodontic tubes to a tooth. The band is closely adapted to fit the contours of the tooth and is cemented into place.
Bracket - An orthodontic attachment secured to a tooth for the purpose of attaching an arch wire. (Brackets with an attached arch wire are parts that "make" the appliance or brace.)
Breakaway - A breakaway is a small plastic piece with an internal spring which is used to provide safety to a facebow.
Buccal tube - A small metal part that is welded on the outside of a molar band. The buccal tube contains slots to hold arch wires, lip bumpers, facebows and other appliances used to move your teeth.
Chain - A stretchable plastic chain used to hold arch wires into brackets and move teeth.
Facebow or headgear - Facebows are wire apparatuses used to move your upper molars back in your mouth, creating room for crowded or protrusive anterior teeth. Generally, the facebow consists of two metal parts which have been attached together. The inner part is shaped like a horseshoe. This part goes in your mouth and is connected to your buccal tubes. The outer part has two curves. The curves go around your face, and connect to the breakaways or high pull headgear.
Impression - A negative copy of a structure, such as a tooth or dental arch; usually made with an elastic compound for the purpose of making an exact positive replica in plaster.
Interceptive orthodontics - An extension of preventive orthodontics that may include minor local tooth movement in an otherwise normally developing dentition.
Ligating module - A small plastic piece, shaped like a donut, which is used to hold the arch wires in the brackets on your teeth.
Mouthguard - A device that is used to protect your mouth from injury when you are participating in sports. The use of a mouthguard is especially important for orthodontic patients to prevent injuries.
Neck pad - A cloth-covered cushion which you wear around your neck when you put on your facebow. Generally, the breakaways are attached to the neckpad to provide force for the facebow.
Orthodontics and Dentofacial Orthopedics - The dental specialty concerned with the supervision, guidance and correction of the dentofacial structures including those conditions that require movement of teeth.
Overbite - Vertical overlapping of upper teeth over lower teeth.
Palatal expander - A device used to make your upper jaw wider.
Precision cuts - Small slits in an aligner used to hold elastic bands.
Retainer - Any orthodontic appliance, fixed or removable, used to maintain teeth in corrected positions following corrective treatment.
Retention - The passive treatment period following active orthodontic correction during which retaining appliances may be used.
Separator - A plastic or metal ring which we use to create space between your teeth for bands.
Underbite - Retrusion of the upper jaw and/or protrusion of the lower jaw.
Wax - A clear wax used to prevent your braces from irritating your lips when your braces are first put on.
The Orthodontist's Tools
Band remover - A special plier which we use to remove bands from your teeth.
Bite stick - A device we use to help put on your bands. Dr. Petrover puts the band in place, then asks you to bite down on the bite stick to help push the band in place.
Cheek retractors - Small plastic pieces used to draw back your lips and cheeks so that we can more easily see your teeth and work in your mouth.
Curing light - A special light used to make orthodontic cement set.
Distal end cutter - A special plier used to cut off the ends of your arch wires.
Explorer - A hook-like fine pointed instrument used in examining the teeth.
Interproximal stripper - A device used to remove a small amount of enamel from between your teeth. The stripper is used to create extra space for crowded teeth.
Ligature cutter - A special plier used to cut off arch wires, ligatures, etc.
Mathieu plier - A special plier which locks when it closes, so it holds on to small parts.
Scaler - A tool with a curved hook on one end. The scaler is used to remove excess cement and check for gaps.
Banding - The process of cementing orthodontic bands to your teeth.
Bonding - The process of attaching brackets to your teeth.
Cephalometric x-rays - An x-ray of the head that shows whether your teeth and bones are aligned properly, and whether they are growing properly.
Consultation - A meeting with your orthodontist to discuss your diagnosis and treatment plan.
Debanding - The removal of cemented orthodontic bands.
Debonding - The removal of the brackets from your teeth.
Extraoral photograph - Facial photos.
Interceptive orthodontic treatment - Orthodontic treatment usually done when you are 6 to 10 years of age. The objective of interceptive orthodontic treatment is to prevent certain problems from becoming worse. Find out more here [two-phase treatment page link]
Ligation - A process where an arch wire is attached to the brackets on your teeth.
Ligating - An adjective used to describe components used to attach arch wires to brackets. For example a ligating module is a small plastic piece that goes over the brackets to hold in your archwires.
Panoramic x-ray - An x-ray taken by a machine that rotates around your head to give the orthodontist a picture of your teeth, jaws and other important information.
Records appointment - One of the initial appointments with our office. Pictures, x-rays and a scan are done to determine the best treatment plan.
Scan - A procedure used to virtually capture the anatomy of your teeth.
Self-ligating brackets - An orthodontic bracket with a built-in mechanism used to secure the arch wire.
Wax bite - You bite into a sheet of wax, leaving bite marks in the wax. It is used to orient the models of your teeth.
Other Dental And Orthodontic Gadgets
Acrylic - A plastic used to make retainers.
Alginate - A plaster-like compound used to take impressions.
Armamentarium - A general term for the instruments used by your orthodontist.
Biomechanics - The relationship between the force you apply to living tissue, such as teeth and gums, and how the tissue moves and changes.
Biteplane - A removable appliance made of acrylic used in the mouth to open a deep bite or deep overbite problem.
Nickel titanium or (NiTi) - An especially flexible shape memory metal. It is formed into orthodontic wire which allows for rapid tooth movement.
Other Orthodontic Terms
Archform - The shape of the dental arch. For example Dr. Petrover could say that you have a horseshoe archform or a "v"-shaped archform.
Closed bite - A malocclusion where your upper teeth cover your lower teeth when you bite down. This is also called a "deep bite."
Crossbite - A malocclusion where some of your upper teeth are inside of your lower teeth when you bite down.
Crowding - Overlapping teeth caused by having too many teeth in too small of a space or arch size.
Crown angulation - A tooth movement in which the root of the tooth is tipped forward or backward to correct the angle of the crown.
Crown inclination - A tooth movement in which the root of the tooth is tipped toward the cheeks (lips) or toward the lingual (palate) of the mouth.
Deep bite - Excessive overbite; closed bite.
Dentition - The teeth, bone and gums.
Diastema - A space between two teeth.
Drift - Unwanted natural movement of teeth.
Extrusion - Tooth movement in the direction of eruption. Natural extrusion: teeth grow until there is contact with another tooth. Mechanical extrusion: to pull the teeth so that it extends farther out of your gums.
Fixed appliance - Any orthodontic component that is cemented or bonded to the teeth.
Flared teeth - The upper teeth are tipped forward (labial).
Full orthodontic treatment - Getting braces on all of the teeth.
Inclination - The angle of the long axis of a tooth from a particular line of reference; the tilt or tip of a tooth.
Interocclusal registration - A wax bite which is used to see how your teeth come together.
Interproximal stripping (IPR) - Reduction of the enamel of the teeth on the sides of the tooth. This procedure is performed to create space for crowded teeth.
Intrusion - Movement of a tooth back into the bone.
Lingual appliances - Orthodontic appliance fixed to the inside of your teeth. Lingual appliances are attached to the part of your teeth next to your tongue.
Lingual arch - An orthodontic wire attached from molar to molar on the inside of your teeth.
Malocclusion - Poor positioning of your teeth.
Class I malocclusion - A malocclusion where your bite is normal front to back.
Class II malocclusion - A malocclusion where your upper posterior teeth are forward of your lower teeth.
Class III malocclusion - A malocclusion where your lower posterior teeth are forward of your upper teeth.
Occlusion - The alignment of your upper and lower teeth when you bite down.
Open bite - A malocclusion in which the teeth do not close or come together in a section of your mouth, usually in the front.
Orthodontist - A specially trained dentist who has attended an advanced education program for a continual training period of 2 to 3 years.
Overjet - Horizontal projection of upper teeth beyond the lower.
Protruded - A term used to indicate that your jaw bones or your teeth are too far forward.
Retruded - A term used to indicate that your jaw bones or your teeth are too far back.
Rotation - A movement in which the tooth turned along the long axis of the tooth.
Spee - The curve of Spee is the curvature of the occlusal plane of the teeth.
Stop - A bend or auxiliary attachment placed on a wire to limit the arch wire from sliding or moving in the bracket slot of the bracket.
Tipping - A tooth movement in which the root of the tooth is tipped labially (towards the lip) or lingually (towards the tongue) to correct the angle of the crown of the tooth.
Torque - The rotation of a tooth on the long axis moving the root of the tooth in a buccal, lingual or labial direction.
Tracing (cephalometric) - An overlay drawing traced over a cephalometric x-ray that shows specific structures and landmarks that provide a basis for orthodontic therapy.
Translation - A tooth movement in which the entire tooth moves forward or backward without tipping or rotating.
Typodont - A plastic model of a typical mouth, showing the alignment of teeth. A typodont is used to display orthodontic appliances.A, B, C, D, E, F, G, H, I, J, K, L, M, N, O, P, Q, R, S, T, U, V, W, X, Y, Z.
an infection of a tooth, soft tissue or bone
tooth or teeth that support a fixed or removable bridge
contemporary term for dental restorations that involve "bonding" of composite resin or porcelain fillings to natural teeth
removal of tooth structure by blasting a tooth with air and abrasive, a relatively new technology that may avoid the need for anesthetic
unfavorable systemic response to a foreign substance or drug
the jaw bone that anchors the roots of teeth
a most common filling material, also known as "silver fillings,"containing mercury (app 50%), silver, tin, copper and zinc used for fillings
a state of pain relief; an agent lessening pain
partial or complete elimination of pain sensation; numbing a tooth is an example of local anesthesia; general anesthesia produces partial or complete unconsciousness
the six upper or six lower front teeth
a drug that stops or slows the growth of bacteria
an acronym for Acute Necrotizing Ulcerative Gingivitis, commonly known as trench mouth or Vincent's disease, aggravated by stress and/or smoking
the tip of the root of a tooth
surgical removal of the root tip to treat a dead tooth
describes the alignment of the upper or lower teeth
loss of structure due to natural wear Back To TOP
cement placed under a dental restoration to insulate the pulp (nerve chamber)
bicuspid or pre-molar:
transitional teeth behind the cuspids
juncture of two (three) roots in posterior teeth
removal of a small piece of tissue for microscopic examination
relationship of the upper and lower teeth on closure (occlusion)
caries (decay) detection x-rays
black hairy tongue:
elongated papillae on the tongue, promoting the growth of microorganisms
chemical or laser treatment of natural teeth for whitening effect
anesthesia of a nerve trunk that covers a large area of the jaw; a mandibular block injection produce numbness of the lower jaw, teeth, half the tongue
adhesive dental restoration technique; a tooth-colored composite resin to repair and/or change the color or shape of a tooth
decrease in bone supporting the roots of teeth; a common result of periodontal (gum disease)
devices used by orthodontists to gradually reposition teeth to a more favorable alignment
stationary dental prosthesis (appliance) fixed to teeth adjacent to a space; replaces one or more missing teeth, cemented or bonded to supporting teeth or implants adjacent to the space
grinding or gnashing of the teeth, most commonly while the patient is asleep
persistent "nervous" grinding of the teeth while the patient is awake Back To TOP
chemical element needed for healthy teeth, bones and nerves
hard residue, commonly known as "tarter," that forms on teeth due to inadequate
plaque control, often stained yellow or brown
mouth sore appearing whitish, often with a red halo, of ten to fourteen day duration
fixed bridge that attaches to adjacent teeth only on one end
common term for dental crown
tooth decay or "cavities"
cast or model:
reproduction of structures made by pouring plaster or stone into a mold
dental tool that uses high frequency ultrasonic waves to clean teeth
soft tissue infection causing extensive, hard swelling, a potentially dangerous condition requiring immediate attention
hard tissue that covers the roots of teeth
log of dental or medical records
device that retains a removable partial denture to stationary teeth
removal of plaque and calculus (tarter) from teeth, generally above the gum line
material composed of plastic with small glass or ceramic particles; usually cured with filtered light or chemical catalyst
cosmetic (aesthetic) dentistry:
treatments performed to enhance appearance; not a recognized specialty
CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation):
Artificial procedures employed by a rescuer after cessation of breathing or heart stoppage
reverse biting relationship of upper and lower teeth; aka "under bite," as in Class III malocclusuion (prognathic jaw)
(1) the portion of a tooth above the gum line;
(2) dental restoration covering all or most of the natural tooth
removal of diseased tissue from a periodintal pocket
mound on posterior teeth
cuspid or canine:
the four "eye teeth"
a soft or hard tissue sac, hard or filled with fluid Back To TOP
Doctor of Dental Surgery - equivalent to DMD
Doctor of Medical Dentistry - equivalent to DDS
destruction of tooth structure caused by toxins produced by bacteria
commonly called "baby teeth," the first set of (usually) twenty teeth
inner layer of tooth structure, immediately under the surface enamel
a (usually) titanium cylinder surgically placed in the bone of the upper or lower jaw to provide support for a dental restoration or appliance
the arrangement of natural or artificial teeth in the mouth
removable (partial or complete) set of artificial teeth
the production of dentures dispensed directly by laboratory technicians
space between teeth Back To TOP
hard tissue covering the portion of tooth above the gum line
specialist who treats injuries, diseases and infections of the tooth pulp (nerve chamber)
study of the incidence of disease in a population
process of teeth protruding through the gums
process of shedding deciduous (baby) teeth
practice of dental extractions
sharp instrument used to detect decay on the surface of teeth
removal of a tooth
the four upper and lower canine (cuspid) teeth Back To TOP
tooth colored overlay on the visible portion of a crown; may be acrylic, composite or porcelain
Fellowship Academy of General Dentistry
restoration of lost tooth structure with metal, porcelain or resin materials
channel emanating pus from an infection site; a gum boil
lifting of gum tissue to expose and clean underlying tooth and bone structures
distance between the upper and lower teeth with the lower jaw in rest position
instrument used for removal of teeth
practice of gathering legal evidence for body identification or judicial issues
valley found on the sutrpface of posterior teeth
removable dental prosthesis (appliance) replacing all upper or lower teeth
full mouth reconstruction:
extensive restorations of natural teeth with crowns and or fixed bridges to manage bite problems.
removal or reshaping of thin muscle tissue that attaches the upper or lower lips to the gum, or the tongue to the floor of the mouth Back To TOP
(guided tissue regeneration) a new technique for replacing bone tissue
controlled state of unconsciousness, accompanied by a partial or complete loss of pain sensation, protective reflexes, and the ability to respond purposefully to physical stimulation or verbal command
benign changes in the usual color and texture of tongue; does not require treatment
surgical removal of gum tissue
inflammation of gum tissue
exposure of dental roots due to shrinkage of the gums as a result of abrasion,
periodontal disease or surgery Back To TOP
bad breath of oral or gastrointestinal origin
techinque employed by rescuer for obstruction of victim's airway
swelling of effused blood beneath tissue surface
HMO or DMO:
health (dental) maintenance organization which specifies a health care (dental) provider a patient may see. Profitability depends on minimization of treatment.
disinfecting solution used in dental irrigation procedures or as mouth rinse
dental auxiliary who cleans teeth and provides patient education; administers local anesthetic, nitrous oxide and performs periodontal scaling
increased blood flow; may cause dental sensitivity to temperature and sweets;
may precede an abscess
partial or completely unexposed tooth that is wedged against another tooth, bone, or soft tissue, precluding the eruption process
artificial device replacing tooth root; may anchor an artificial tooth, bridge,
mold made of the teeth and soft tissues
incision and drainage:
surgical incision of an abscess to drain suppuration (pus)
four upper and four lower front teeth, excluding the cuspids (canine teeth)
local anesthetic procedure effective for upper teeth and soft tissue; placement of anesthetic under the gum, allowing it to seep into bone
indirect - filling made by a dental laboratory that is cemented or bonded into place, direct - placement of dental composite resin restoration at chairside
surfaces of adjoining teeth
space between upper and lower teeth
a smal video camera used to view and magnify oral conditions;
images may be printed Back To TOP
crown for a front tooth, usually made of porcelain
thin plastic or porcelain veneer produced in a dental laboratory and then bonded to a tooth
nitrous oxide; odorless inhalation agent that produces relative analgesic (sedation); reduces anxiety and creates a state of relaxation
injury of bodily tissue due to infection, trauma or neoplasm
partial or complete elimination of pain sensation, in the immediate vicinity
of its application or injection
"bad bite" or misalignment of the upper and lower teeth
program whereby patient-dentist assignment and dentist reimbursement is administered by a separate, external organization
the lower jaw
interface between a restoration and tooth structure
Masters Academy of General Dentistry
a bridge that is bonded to the back of the adjacent teeth; requires minimum tooth reduction
process of chewing food
the upper jaw
capsular cushion between temporomandibluar joint and glenoid fossa
deciduous (baby) teeth
three back teeth in each dental quadrant used for grinding food.
opportunistic fungal infection after administration of antibiotic; not uncommon in the mouth
mucogingival junction (MGJ):
meeting of thick, protective gingival tissue around the teeth and the friable mucous lining of the cheeks and lips Back To TOP
non steroidal anti-inflammatory drug, often used as a dental analgesic
tissue that conveys sensation, temperature, position information to the brain
nerve (root) canal:
dental pulp; the internal chamber of a tooth
acrylic appliance used to prevent wear and temporomandibular damage caused by grinding or gnashing of the teeth during sleep
a gas used to reduce patient anxiety
older brand name for a local anesthetic, currently replaced by safer, more effective agents
closure; relationship of the upper and lower teeth upon closure
laboratory produced restoration covering one or more cusps of a tooth
oral and maxillofacial surgeon:
a dental specialist who manages the diagnosis & surgical treatment of diseases, injuries, and deformities of the mouth and supporting structures; Requires four additional years of training after dental school
process of maintaining cleanliness of the teeth and related structures
oral and maxillofacial surgery:
surgical procedures on the mouth including extractions, removal of cysts or tumors, and repair of fractured jaws
dentist specializing in the study of oral diseases
dental specialty that treats misalignment of teeth
vertical overlap of the front teeth
denture that fits over residual roots or dental implants
horozontal overlap of the front teeth Back To TOP
hard and soft tissue forming the roof of the mouth
non invasive relief of irritating conditions
a partial loss of sensation; may be temporary or permanent
removable dental prosthesis (appliance) replacing one or more natural teeth
study of disease
region at the end of the roots of teeth
recontouring or esthetic management of diseased gum and supporting tissue
dental specialist treating the gums and supporting soft and hard tissues retaining natural teeth and the surgical placement of dental implants
pedodontics or pediatric dentistry:
dental specialty focusing on treatment of children
record measuring the depth of gum pockets around the teeth
(usually) thirty-two adult teeth in a complete dentition
a small defect in the tooth enamel; junction of four formative lobes of a developing tooth
inert medication or treatment that produces psychological benefit
soft sticky substance that accumulates on teeth; composed of bacteria and food debris due to inadequate dental hygiene
replacement tooth mounted on a fixed or removal appliance Back To TOP
all porcelain restoration covering the coronal portion of tooth (above the gum line)
porcelain fused to metal (PFM) crown:
restoration with metal coping (for strength) covered by porcelain (for appearance)
porcelain inlay or onlay:
tooth-colored restoration made of porcelain, cemented or bonded in place
a thin layer of porcelain, fabricated by a laboratory) bonded to a natural tooth to replace lost tooth structure, close spaces, straighten teeth or change color and/or shape
thin metal rod inserted into the root of a tooth after root canal therapy; provides retention for a "coping" that replaces lost tooth structure and retains crown
post and buildup to replace lost tooth structure and retain crown
single structure that combines post-core and crown
PPO or PDO:
preferred provider (dental) organization which a health care (dental) provider may join, offering fee for service treatment at reduced fees
the anticipated outcome of treatment
cleaning of the teeth for the prevention of periodontal disease and tooth decay
an artificial appliance for the replacement for a body part
dental specialist skilled in restoring or replacing teeth with fixed or removable prosthesis (appliance), maintaining proper occlusion; treats facial deformities with artificial prostheses such as eyes, ears, and noses
the nerves, blood vessels and connective tissue inside a tooth
a medicated covering over a small area of exposed pulp tissue
the center or innermost portion of the tooth containing the pulp
complete removal of the pulp (commonly done in children's teeth)
inflammation of the pulp; common cause of toothache
partial removal of the pulp tissue
older term for periodontal (gum) disease Back To TOP
insertion and temporary fixation of partially or completely avulsed tooth or teeth, resulting from traumatic injury
acrylic restoration of denture base to compensate for bone loss; direct: done at chairside; indirect: in conjunction with a dental laboratory
replacement of portion of a damaged tooth
partial root structure remaining in jaw after extraction or fracture of a
tooth structure that connects the tooth to the jaw
common term for root canal therapy, also the interior space of the tooth
root canal therapy:
process of removing pulp of a tooth and filling it with an inert material
removal of a portion of diseased root structure, retaining the remaining natural tooth
soft latex sheet used to establish isolation of one or more teeth from contamination by oral fluids and to keep materials from falling to the back of the throat Back To TOP
clear lubricating fluid in the mouth containing water, enzymes, bacteria, mucus, viruses, blood cells and undigested food particles
suction tube placed in the mouth to remove saliva
located under tongue and in cheeks, produce saliva
scaling and root planing:
meticulous removal of plaque and calculus from tooth surfaces
thin resin material bonded in the pits and fissures of back teeth for the prevention of decay
reparative tooth structure produced by the pulp in response to tooth irritation
loosened spicule of bone pushed to the surface
infammation of the sinus that may mimc dental pain
the periodic interruption or delay in breathing during sleep
dental device that holds the space lost through premature loss of baby teeth
connection of two or more teeth so they function as a stronger single structure
bacterial contamination of tissue exudate; pus Back To TOP
common term for dental calculus, a hard deposit that adheres to teeth; produces rough surface that attracts plaque
tmd (or tmj disorder):
temperomandibular disorder; term given to condition characterized by facial pain and restricted ability to open or move the jaw
the temporomandibular joint, the point where the lower jaw attaches to the skull
insurance company, union, government agency that pays all or a part of cost of dental treatment
early embryonic structure that becomes a tooth
a chemical or laser process to lighten the color of teeth
ointment that produces mild anesthesia when applied to tissue surface
common bony protuberance on the palate or lower jaw
placing a natural tooth in the empty socket of another tooth
injury caused by external force, chemical, temperature extremes, or poor tooth alignment
gum disease characterized by severe mouth sores and loss of tissue. See ANUG. Back To TOP
usual, customary and reasonable fees
a tooth that has not pushed through the gum and assumed its correct position in the dental arch
plastic or porcelain facing bonded directly to a tooth to improve its appearance. See laminate.
arbitrary space between upper and lower jaws upon closure; may decrease over time due to wear, shifting or damage to the teeth
dry mouth or decrease in the production of saliva . Back To TOP