Orthodontics Terminology for the layman!



Arch wire – Metal piece of wire attached to your brackets so that you can move your teeth.


Apex – The bottom of the root of a tooth.


Appliance – An appliance refers to an apparatus that holds teeth in position after orthodontic treatment.


Biteplate – Acrylic removable appliance designed to open a deep bite.


Brace – An appliance used to straighten or align your teeth, improving a person’s bite and dental welfare.


Brackets – Ceramic or metal part glued to your tooth serving to fasten your arch wire.


Band – Metal ring placed onto your teeth to hold on parts of your brace.


Bonding – The use of a special glue to attach your brackets to your teeth.


Cavity – Small hole in a tooth as a result of tooth decay.


Cementum – Bone-like substance that covers the root of a tooth.


Crown – Refers to the part of a tooth above your gum.


Curettage – Periodontal procedure that refers to the scraping of your gums in order to remove bacteria.


Cuspal – Chewing points of the bicuspids, molars and cuspids.


Dentin –  Calcium area of a tooth under the enamel coating that contains the roots canals and pulp chambers.


Dentation – Arrangement of your teeth.


Diastema – Space between each tooth.


Drift – Unhealthy movement of your teeth.


Enamel – Ceramic that covers the part of your teeth that are exposed.


Gingivae – A synonym for your gums.


Gingivitis – A synonym for gum disease.


Lingual appliances – Orthodontic appliances attached to the inside of your teeth – fixed to the part of your teeth next to your tongue.


Periodontal – Pertaining to the gums (e.g. periodontal disease = gum disease).


Pulp – Soft inside structure of your teeth made up of bloody vessels and nerves.


Retainer – Given to you by your orthodontist after you’ve finished your course of wearing braces. Retainers attach to your upper teeth, holding them in position. It’s important to wear your retainer at night to ensure that your teeth don’t move as your jaw hardens.


Root – Part of your tooth that’s inside your gums.





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