Here at Kupiec Orthodontics & Pediatric Dentistry, we want our patients to be as educated and informed about their dental care as possible. To help accomplish this, we have provided a glossary of common orthodontic terms that you may hear around our office. If you would like to learn more about orthodontics in Rancho Santa Fe, California, we encourage you to contact our team. We can help answer your questions or set up your appointment with our orthodontist, Dr. Karson Kupiec.

Archwire
A wire that is inserted through orthodontic brackets and used to guide tooth movement.

Band (orthodontic)
Typically made of stainless steel, this thin, metal ring secures orthodontic appliances to your teeth. The band is soldered or welded to the appliance, and it is made to fit the unique contours of your tooth. It is typically cemented into place on the back molars.

Bracket
Part of your braces appliance that attaches to the front of your tooth by bonding or banding it in place. It is used to engage the archwire and move your teeth into position. Typically, brackets are made of metal or ceramic.

Ceramic brackets
These brackets fit to the front of your teeth just like traditional metal brackets; however, they are made of crystalline, alumina, clear synthetic or a tooth-shade material so that they are more attractive and not as noticeable.

Elastics (rubber bands)
Elastics are small rubber bands that typically connect from the back molar to the upper ball hook on your orthodontic appliance. They are used to help move your teeth to their prescribed positions.

Gingiva
More commonly known as your gums, gingiva is the soft tissue that surrounds your teeth.

Headgear
A general terms used to describe external orthodontic appliances that attach to your appliance from around the head. Headgear aids in tooth movement, anchorage and growth modifications.

Herbst or Mara appliance
A temporarily fixed, or cemented, appliance that is used to help correct overbites.

Lingual appliances
Orthodontic appliances, such as braces, that are attached to the inner tongue-side surface of the teeth. This makes the appliances less visible to others.

Orthodontist
A dental professional who completed a post-doctoral residency that specializes in orthodontic treatments. In order to be recognized, the post-doctoral residency program must be accredited by both the Association of Orthodontics and American Dental Association.

Orthognathic surgery
Commonly known as jaw surgery. This procedure improves bite alignment by adjusting the supporting bone structure. It is commonly completed in conjunction with traditional orthodontic treatments.

Overbite
When the upper teeth extend excessively over the lower teeth.

Retainer
An orthodontic appliance used to keep your teeth in their proper positions after you have completed corrective treatment. Retainers can be fixed in place or removeable.