Dental Glossary

Glossary of Terms


The wire that goes from tooth to tooth (brace to brace) around the upper and lower arches.

band (orthodontic)

A thin metal ring, usually stainless steel, which serves to secure orthodontic attachments to a tooth. The band, with orthodontic attachments welded or soldered to it, is closely adapted to fit the contours of the tooth and then cemented into place. Bands are placed around molars.


An orthodontic attachment that is secured to a tooth by bonding it directly to the surface of the tooth for engaging an archwire. Brackets can be made out of metal (stainless steel) or ceramic.

ceramic brackets

Crystalline, alumina, tooth-shade or clear synthetic sapphire brackets that are aesthetically more attractive than conventional metal attachments. Click here for information about GAC In-Ovation C brackets


Dental malalignment caused by inadequate space for the teeth.


The removal of braces.

elastics (rubber bands)

Used to move teeth in prescribed directions. Elastics are important in orthodontic treatment to achieve a proper fit of the upper and lower teeth (a proper bite).


The gum tissue that surrounds the teeth.


Generic term for extraoral traction for growth modification, tooth movement and anchorage.


The process of acquiring representations of structures in either two or three dimensions. Includes X-rays and photographs.


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


A dental specialist who has completed an advanced post-doctoral course, accredited by the American Dental Association, of at least two academic years in the special area of orthodontics.

orthognathic surgery

Surgery to alter relationships of teeth and/or jaws, usually accomplished in conjunction with orthodontic therapy. Click here to learn more about orthognathic surgery.


Vertical overlapping of upper teeth over lower teeth.


A permanent image produced by ionizing radiation. Sometimes called an X-ray after the most common source of image-producing radiation. Conventional designs use film. Digital designs use computer images.


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


The passive treatment period following active orthodontic correction during which retainers are used.

straight wire appliance

A variation of the edgewise appliance in which brackets are angulated to minimize multiple archwire bends. Brackets and molar tubes have specific orientation in three planes of space

Dr. Gerald Crain, Orthodontics

Dr. Gerald Crain provides a state of the art orthodontist practice based in Plano, Texas. Orthodontic treatments include braces and Invisalign for children, teens and adults. Dr. Gerald Crain's orthodontist office is located at 6837 Coit Rd Suite A, Plano, TX 75024. For more information or to schedule an appointment call our office at (972) 618-5050.