Anything that is attached to your teeth that moves your teeth or corrects your bite.


A wire engaged in orthodontic attachments, affixed to the crowns of two or more teeth and guides the direction of tooth movement.

band (orthodontic)

A thin metal ring, usually stainless steel, which serves to secure orthodontic attachments to a tooth. The band is closely adapted to fit the contours of the tooth and then cemented into place.


An orthodontic attachment made of metal, ceramic or plastic that holds the archwire against each tooth. The archwire fits into a slot in the bracket. Brackets may be attached directly to each tooth or to a band.

ceramic brackets

Crystalline, alumina, tooth-shade or clear synthetic sapphire brackets that are aesthetically more attractive than conventional metal attachments.


An elastic chain that is used to hold the archwires onto the brackets.

coil spring

The coil spring fits between brackets and over the archwire.


The removal of cemented orthodontic bands.

elastics (rubber bands)

A tiny rubber ring that ties the archwire into the bracket. Found in numerous colors for better appearance.

fixed retainer

A permanent retainer that is bonded to the back side of the front teeth to keep the teeth from shifting from their new position.

habit appliance

An appliance designed to deter thumb or finger sucking habits.


Generic term for extraoral traction (attached around the back side of the head) for growth modification, tooth movement and anchorage.


An imprint or mold of the teeth used to design an orthodontic treatment plan.

interceptive treatment

Interceptive treatment, also known as early treatment, is limited orthodontic treatment usually performed between the ages of 6 and 10. This phase of treatment simplifies future orthodontic treatment.

MARA appliance

A growth appliance that helps correct overbites by positioning the patient's lower jaw forward.


Of or pertaining to the upper jaw. May be used to describe teeth, dental restorations, orthodontic appliances or facial structures.


A mouthpiece that is tailored to provide protection to the braces and teeth while the patient is playing a sport.

palatal expander

Attached to the upper molars through cemented bands, the palatal expander is used to widen the upper jaw.


A permanent image produced by ionizing radiation. Sometimes called an X-ray after the most common source of image-producing radiation.


Any orthodontic appliance, fixed or removable, used to maintain the position of the teeth following corrective treatment.

separator (spacer)

Small elastics that fit snugly between molars to move them apart slightly so that bands can be placed around them later.


Patients are instructed to place wax over a bracket or poking wire that is causing irritation to the lip or cheek.