Glossary of Terms

Terms for Miami Braces Patients

Please click on a term to view the definition:


adjustmentAn evaluation of your progress where your wires may be changed to keep your treatment on track and moving forward.


applianceAnything the orthodontist attaches to your teeth to move your teeth or to change the shape of your jaw.


archwireThe orthodontic wires we use are specially alloyed. They’re designed to deliver light and gentle forces over longer periods of time thereby decreasing the need for extra appointments. The end result is that there’s very little discomfort and virtually no pain associated with orthodontic treatment.


bandBands are metal bands that are sometimes placed on the back molars and are used to anchor other orthodontic appliances to.


bandingThe process of cementing orthodontic bands to your teeth.


bondingThe process of attaching brackets to your teeth using a special safe adhesive.


bracesOrthodontic appliances consist mainly of brackets, which are the individual braces that are bonded or glued directly on the teeth, and the wires which deliver the forces that actually move the teeth.


bracketBrackets are the small metal or ceramic modules attached to each tooth. They serve as guides to move the teeth and hold the archwire in place. The brackets used in orthodontics today bond directly to the teeth with a tooth-colored bonding adhesive. They are much smaller and lighter than ever.

Cephalometric X-Ray

cephalometric x-rayAn x-ray of the head that shows if your teeth are aligned and growing properly.


chainA stretchable plastic chain used to hold archwires into brackets and to move teeth.


consultationA meeting with your orthodontist where he/she discusses your treatment plan.


debondingThe removal of cemented orthodontic brackets.


elasticsElastics provide the “pull” needed to move your teeth into proper alignment to achieve an idea bite. For elastics to be effective, they must be worn as close to 24 hours per day and each and every day. Your teeth will be sore for the first few days of wearing elastics. As soon as your teeth get used to the new pressure, the soreness will disappear.

Herbst Appliance

herbst applianceThe Herbst appliance is used to correct skeletal imbalances where the lower jaw is behind the upper jaw (Class II). This correction occurs due to a combined restriction of upper jaw growth and an enhancement of lower jaw growth. In order to achieve the desired change in the skeletal pattern, the Herbst appliance is worn between 12-15 months.

Interceptive Care

interceptive careOrthodontic treatment that is usually done between the ages of 6 and 10. The objective of interceptive orthodontic treatment is to provide orthopedicintervention, so that later orthodontic treatment goes quicker and is less painful.


invisalignInvisalign® is a technology developed using computer scanners and virtual reality to move teeth gradually using the construction of clear overlay retainer appliances.


mouthguardA 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.

Palatal Expander

palatal expanderThe upper jaw is made up of two bones connected by a suture in the middle. The palatal expander can be used to widen the upper jaw bones. This appliance will be turned once a day for a prescribed amount of turns. After the desired expansion is achieved, the appliance must stay in place for 4-6 months for the upper jaw bones to grow back together and form a new suture.

Panoramic X-Ray

panoramic xrayAn x-ray taken by a machine that rotates around your head to give your orthodontist a picture of your teeth, jaws and other important information.


photographsFacial and intraoral photographs will be taken throughout treatment.


retainerAn appliance that the orthodontist gives you to wear after your braces are removed. The retainer attaches to your upper and/or lower teeth and holds them in the correct position while the bone around your teeth adjusts to the new positions of your teeth. At first, you wear the retainer 24 hours a day, and then only at night.


recordsThese records, which include cephalometric and panoramic x-rays, digital photos and study models, help your orthodontist determine what treatment needs to be done.


separatorsA plastic or metal part that the orthodontist uses to create space between your teeth for bands.

Wax Bite

wax biteThe procedure to measure how well your teeth come together. You bite a sheet of wax and leave bitemarks in the wax. This helps the orthodontist relate the upper and lower models of your teeth together.