Ortho Dictionary

Braces and Appliances

Aligners: Refers to either clear aligner trays that cover or overlay your teeth like the Invisalign system or it specifies a type of metal wires and plastic retainer for minor tooth movement of just the front teeth.

Appliance: Anything your orthodontist attaches to your teeth which moves your teeth or changes the shape of your jaw.

Archwire: The metal wire that acts as a track to guide your teeth along as they move. It is changed periodically throughout treatment as your teeth move to their new positions.

Band: A metal ring that is cemented to your tooth, going completely around it. Bands provide a way to attach brackets to your teeth.

Bond: The seal created by orthodontic adhesives that holds your appliances in place.

Bracket or Brace: An orthodontic attachment that is secured to a tooth (either by bonding or banding) for the purpose of engaging an archwire. Brackets can be fabricated from metal, ceramic or plastic.

Butterfly System: Dr. S. Jay Bowman designed signature series of braces and associated auxiliaries.

Coil Spring: A spring that fits between your brackets and over your archwire to open or close space between your teeth.

Distalizer: Dr. Bowman’s patented modifications of the Distal Jet appliance called the Bowman Modification and the Horseshoe Jet are evidence-based devices to assist in the correction of some Class II bites (discrepancy between the jaws). Specifically, these devices push the upper teeth back.

Elastic (Rubber Band): A small rubber band that is hooked between different points on your appliance to provide pressure to move your teeth to their new position. It is critical that elastics are worn as specifically instructed to insure treatment progresses.

Elastic Tie: The tiny rubber band that fits around your bracket to hold the archwire in place. They come in a variety of colors.

Fluoride varnish: A fluoride-releasing coating that is painted onto the surfaces of teeth around braces to help protect them from acid attack and thereby assist in reducing the potential for unsightly lines or scars on teeth after braces are removed. Dr. Bowman has published several studies demonstrating the efficacy of these materials. We also use Fluoride sealants when placing our braces to enhance this effectiveness and do all we can to prevent damage to teeth from bad oral hygiene practices by patients.

Headgear: Headgear uses an external wire apparatus known as a facebow to gently guide the growth of your face and jaw by moving your teeth into proper position. The force is applied to the facebow by a spring-loaded neck strap or head strap. The straps have a safety release that disconnects if the facebow is pulled or snagged.

Headgear Tube: A round, hollow attachment on your back bands. The inner bow of your headgear fits into it.

Hook: A welded or removable arm to which elastics are attached. A T-pin or hook pin is another alternative that is inserted into a tiny vertical slot in some braces like Dr. Bowman’s Butterfly System.

Invisalign®: An alternative to traditional braces, Invisalign straightens your teeth with a series of clear custom-molded aligners. Invisalign can correct some, but not all, orthodontic problems. Sequentially combining Invisalign with braces is also an option for some patients. Dr. Bowman developed Aligner Chewies and Retainer Retrievers for use with this system.

Jasper Jumpers, Forsus Springs, Herbst appliance: These are all types of fixed functional appliances, devices designed to modify facial growth patterns. They are fixed to the braces from one jaw to the other, typically oriented to hold the lower jaw forward to encourage a change in final jaw position that occurs with time and growth. A period of patient acclimation is required with these highly effective appliances.

Kilroy Springs and Monkey Hooks: Dr. Bowman invented these small auxiliaries to facilitate the correction of impacted teeth, specifically upper “eye teeth” or canines.

Laser: Kalamazoo Orthodontics has two types of lasers: 1) KaVo Diode laser that is used for simple soft tissue procedures to uncover impacted teeth or reduce gum tissue swelling, 2) KaVo DIAGNOdent is a laser device to measure the calcification of a tooth’s enamel to determine if damage is occurring due to inadequate oral hygiene practices by the patient.

Ligature: A thin wire or colorful “alastic” tie that holds your archwire into your bracket.

Lip Bumper: A lip bumper is an archwire attached to a molded piece of plastic. The lip bumper holds back the molars on your lower jaw to provide more space for your other teeth.

Miniscrew or TAD: A tiny titanium screw that is temporarily inserted to provide a post or support from which to direct forces to the teeth.

Mouthguard: A device that protects your mouth from injury when you participate in sports or rigorous activities.

Positioner: The tooth positioner is a removable “mouthguard” device that is individually designed to finalize and improve a patient’s fit of their teeth together, reduce gum tissue swelling, and detail the smile. Dr. Bowman is a proponent of the positioner for many patients to significantly improve their final results. He prescribes the positioner to be worn for 24 hours/day for one week to maximize it’s effect and he has published several articles on this technique.

Invisalign®: An alternative to traditional braces, Invisalign straightens your teeth with a series of clear custom-molded aligners. Invisalign can correct some, but not all, orthodontic problems.

Quick Fix: Dr. Bowman invented this simple device to correct anterior crossbites for youngsters. It is used in conjunction with 6 braces called a 2 X 4 (two by four).

RAP: The Rapid Acceleratory Phenomenon refers to the process of enhanced tooth movement that occurs whenever there is an injury to regional bone. For example, this temporary acceleration of tooth movement occurs for the next few months when teeth are removed. In order to reduce orthodontic treatment time or to enhance a specific type of tooth movement, RAP can be stimulated locally by drilling tiny holes in bone adjacent to the teeth in question using the Propel device from AlveoLogic. A proprietary method of more comprehensive use of this concept is called Wilckodontics.

Retainer: An appliance that is worn after your braces are removed, the retainer attaches to your upper and/or lower teeth to hold them in place. Some retainers are removable, while others are bonded to the tongue-side of several teeth. In addition, some retainers are made of a combination of plastic and metal wires while others are clear trays that overlay all of your teeth like Invisalign or Vivera. Dr. Bowman developed the Dentsply/Glenroe material called Duralight for his retainers. This material is very thin, adaptable, durable, comfortable, and esthetic. It is, however, critical that you not habitually “chew” on your retainer or put them in boiling water as this will irreparably distort them.

Separator or Spacer: A small rubber ring that creates space between your teeth before the bands are attached.

Tie Wire: A fine wire that is twisted around your bracket to hold the archwire in place or to connect different aspects of orthodontic appliances.

Two by Four (2 X 4): A set of 6 orthodontic braces most often used with younger patients in an early or Phase I treatment to specifically correct one aspect of an orthodontic problem (not comprehensive treatment). Occasionally other devices are used with the 2X4 such as the Quick Fix, the Quad Helix, Reverse pull facemask, etc.

Wax: Wax is used to stop your braces from irritating your lips.

Orthodontic Procedures

Banding: The process of fitting and cementing orthodontic bands to your teeth.

Bonding: The process of attaching brackets to your teeth using special orthodontic cement.

Cephalometric X-ray: An x-ray of your head that shows the relative positions and growth of the face, jaws, and teeth. These digital radiographs are digitized into the Dolphin Imaging System for evaluation.

Consultation: A meeting with your orthodontist to discuss a treatment plan.

Debanding: The process of removing cemented orthodontic bands from your teeth.

Debonding: The process of removing cemented orthodontic brackets from your teeth. Dr. Bowman developed the Axis Orthodontic Adhesive Removal kit and uses this with KaVo electric handpieces for a more comfortable and efficient polish of your teeth.

Impressions: The process of making a model of your teeth by biting into a soft material that hardens into a mold of your teeth. Your orthodontist will use these impressions to prepare your treatment plan, to create appliances, or to evaluate progress. Materials for impressions include typical alginate or PVS.

Ligation: The process of attaching an archwire to the brackets on your teeth. This may be accomplished with colorful “elastic” ties or strands of thin stainless steel. Some braces are called self-ligation and have a gate or clip to hold the wire in position.

Panoramic X-ray: An x-ray that rotates around your head to take pictures of your teeth, jaw, and other facial areas.

Kalamazoo Orthodontics Improving Southwest Michigan One Smile at a Time