A Glossary of Braces Terminology

orthodontist near annapolisIf you’re planning on visiting an orthodontist near Annapolis for braces, you may be interested in learning some of the common orthodontic terms that you may encounter. Orthodontic treatment is a safe, easy way to fix crooked, overcrowded, or gapped teeth. Keep reading to learn some of the common orthodontic terms associated with braces.


An orthodontist is a dentist who specializes in the diagnosis, prevention, and treatment of dental irregularities. This may include crooked teeth, overbites, underbites, misaligned bites, teeth that are overcrowded, and teeth that have gaps between them. An orthodontist undergoes two to three years of additional orthodontic training at an accredited orthodontic specialty program. An orthodontist will take X-rays, teeth impressions, and oral examinations to determine a treatment plan. He may recommend braces, a retainer, or Invisalign aligners to patients as part of their orthodontic treatment.


Dental braces are orthodontic devices that straighten or align teeth. Traditional metal braces consist of brackets, which are placed on each tooth to apply pressure that shifts the teeth into alignment. Archwires are metal wires that are affixed to the crowns of two or more teeth, and guide the alignment of the teeth. Orthodontic bands are metal rings that wrap around teeth and secure orthodontic attachments to them. Rubber bands, or elastics, attach to the bracket hooks between the upper and lower teeth. Your orthodontist or dentist may recommend clear braces or Invisalign aligners as an alternative to traditional metal braces.


Invisalign aligners are a type of clear braces that are used to comfortably and gradually shift your teeth into alignment. Invisalign aligners are made from a soft, flexible plastic that is virtually invisible. Your orthodontist will customize a series of Invisalign aligners that correspond to each stage of your orthodontic treatment plan. Aligners are used in pairs, with one fitting around your top teeth, and one around your bottom teeth. Aligners should be worn for 20 to 22 hours per day, and can be removed while you eat or brush your teeth.

Categories: Orthodontics
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