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The Orthodontist’s Dictionary

When you first start your treatment with Oakbrook Orthodontics, you may find yourself a bit overwhelmed with all the different jargon. But don’t be nervous; we’ll take it slow and avoid jargon as much as possible.

In the meantime, browse through these definitions to familiarize yourself with the language of orthodontists.

Defining the Parts of Your Braces

Archwire: this is the wire that runs through the brackets and guides your teeth’s movement. As your teeth change position, this metal wire is changed out.

Appliance: any device that the doctor applies to your teeth in order to move them or reshape your jaw.

Elastics: this is the orthodontist’s term for a rubber band. This rubber band places pressure on your teeth to move them into the desired position.

Coil Spring: for teeth that are overly crowded together, this spring is fitted over the archwire and between the braces to clear up some space.

Bond: to keep your appliances securely in position, orthodontic cement is used to create a seal which is commonly known as a “bond.”

Retainer: this important appliance is what you’ll wear once your doctor removes your braces. The appliance is placed on your teeth in order to keep them in the position your braces have moved them to. Retainers vary; some are bonded while others are removable.

Lip Bumper: in order to maintain enough space for other teeth, the lip bumper restrains your lower jaw’s molars.

Defining Orthodontic Procedures

Impressions: this is one of the first things your orthodontist will do. It’s when the doctor has you bite down into a material that starts soft, then hardens later. This creates a perfect mold of your mouth which the orthodontist can use to figure out what treatment you’re going to need.

Cephalometric X-ray: this sophisticated-sounding word is simply an x-ray that your orthodontist may use for a picture of how your face, teeth, and jaws are positioned.

Ligation: this is the process by which an orthodontist secures the archwire within the brackets which have been already bonded to your teeth.

Debonding & Debanding: as the names suggest, debanding and debonding refer to the processes by which an orthodontist removes the bands and brackets that are cemented to your teeth.

Bonding & Banding: this is the opposite of debonding and debanding, meaning that when an orthodontist bonds or bands your teeth, they’re attaching brackets and bands with orthodontic cement.

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