1515 W. Cornwallis Drive #105, Greensboro NC 27408
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Orthodontic Dictionary

Dr. A at Straight A Orthodontics believes in empowering his patients, both current and new, young and old, with the information they need to achieve the maximum results from their orthodontic treatment, which is why we have provided you with this convenient orthodontic dictionary of key terms relating to braces and orthodontic treatment plans. 

In the interest of giving you the knowledge you need for successful treatment and beautiful, straight teeth, Dr. A and the professional staff at Straight A Orthodontics provide the following orthodontics dictionary so that you can be familiar with key terms and definitions relating to orthodontic devices and treatment issues.

  • Aligner (Orthodontic): A series of custom-made clear retainers that fit snugly over the teeth, gradually and gently shifting your teeth into place.
  • Appliance: This is an orthodontic tool, which moves or repositions teeth.
  • Arch: This term is used to refer to one-half of the total jaw, upper or lower.
  • Archwire: This is the wire, which connects the brackets on the teeth to make braces. The wire is adjusted at orthodontic appointments to apply gentle pressure which gradually repositions the teeth.
  • Band (Orthodontic): Metal rings which are cemented, typically to the back teeth during orthodontic treatment.
  • Bracket: Made of metal, ceramic, or clear materials, the bracket is affixed to the surface of the teeth during braces treatment.
  • Braces: Orthodontic treatment affixed to the teeth, which straighten the teeth to provide enhanced dental health and aesthetics.
  • Chain: Typically used to correct areas in the mouth where there is spacing, a chain is made of continuous elastic bands, which connect to brackets to close the “gap” throughout treatment.
  • Closed Bite: When the upper middle six teeth completely overlap with the lower front six teeth, forming a large overbite.
  • Crowding: When the teeth are too close together or “crowded” in the mouth, some adult teeth may fail to erupt or some may be positioned outside of the regular gum line.
  • Debanding: An orthodontic technique to remove orthodontic bands from the back teeth.
  • Elastics: Elastic bands are utilized in some braces treatments to further reposition the teeth by applying additional pressure on the wires and brackets.
  • Eruption: The process and way that teeth progress from under to above the natural gumline.
  • Gingiva: Any soft tissue, like the gums, which surrounds the teeth.
  • Headgear: An orthodontic appliance, most common for children, which is removable and used to promote proper tooth movement and position.
  • Impressions: Customized images or molds which show orthodontists the exact size, shape, and position of a patient’s teeth.
  • Invisalign®: An alternative to traditional braces which uses a series of clear, custom made aligners to reposition the teeth over time.
  • Ligation: The orthodontic technique, which secures the archwire to the brackets in the mouth.
  • Lingual Side: This term is used to refer to the interior of the teeth, or the side of the upper and lower teeth, which is closest to the tongue.
  • Malocclusion: An umbrella term to describe a bite, which is not properly aligned.
  • Mandibular: Referring to or of the lower jaw.
  • Maxillary: Referring to or of the upper jaw.
  • Open Bite: When the upper and lower teeth do not make contact with one another.
  • Orthodontics: The branch of dentistry, which focuses on jaw irregularities, teeth positioning, and bite problems.
  • Orthodontist: A dental professional who completes full dental school plus an additional two to three years of education surrounding the jaw, jaw development, and teeth positioning.
  • Overbite: When the front teeth overlap the bottom teeth in excess.
  • Panoramic Radiograph: A special kind of x-ray, this imaging allows the orthodontist and patient to see all of the teeth and jaw.
  • Retainer: A removable orthodontic appliance which aims to slightly reposition the teeth or hold the teeth in place following braces treatment.
  • Permanent Retainer: A small metal appliance which is affixed to the back of the teeth to hold them in place permanently following braces.
  • Separator: A small loop or ring which is somewhat flexible and placed between two teeth to create more room for proper orthodontic treatment.
  • Wax: An at-home treatment for any mild irritation caused by braces. One can apply wax to brackets to prevent abrasion in the mouth.
  • Wire: This is what attaches to the brackets in the mouth to guide the teeth into the proper position throughout braces treatment.


How Much Does Orthodontic Treatment Cost in Greensboro?

Your braces treatment costs will vary, depending on your individual needs and developing an appropriate treatment plan that’s customized to your needs. Our staff will discuss the cost of your treatment and available payment plan options. We will work with you to create a payment plan that fits your budget, so you will know what to expect. Our practice also accepts most major credit cards and insurance plans.

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