Post by: / January 30, 2019

Glossary: A List Of Common Terms An Orthodontist Would Use

Every profession has its own glossary of jargon. Orthodontics is no different! So, for those of you who are curious, we thought we would share some of our lingo!

Here’s a quick list of some of the most common words we use.


No, not like the Rolling Stones. An orthodontic band is a stainless steel ring that is contoured to fit the tooth. Sometimes used with braces, once it is slipped onto the tooth and cemented into place, orthodontic attachments can be fitted to it.


These come in several options, metal, plastic or ceramic, and are bonded to individual teeth (one per tooth). You can think of a bracket like a handle bar on the tooth. The brackets are used to hold the wire to the tooth. This is what helps shift the teeth around the mouth.


When a person’s mouth doesn’t have enough space for all their teeth. Also known as crooked teeth.


There are two types of elastics. First, they are used to tie the wire to the bracket. Also known as the colours on the braces! Second, we use a different type of elastic to help adjust the bite when one jaw has grown more than the other.


A fibrous tissue that surrounds the upper and lower teeth. Aka the gums.


This can be either x-rays (aka radiographs) or photos of the teeth. Imaging is needed by orthodontists to get a two- or three- dimension visual representation of a patient’s mouth.


Of or pertaining to near, on the side, or toward the tongue.


Used to describe the lower jaw


Pertaining to the upper jaw


A dental specialist who has completed advanced studies after graduating from dentistry. These doctors primarily deal in diagnosis, prevention and correction of malpositioned teeth and the jaws.


Occurs when the upper teeth overlap the bottom teeth. Overbites can cause the teeth to wear down.


Referring to a fixed (ie. a permanent wire) or a removable appliance to keep the teeth and jaw in place following an orthodontic treatment.


Also called a class 3 malocclusion, or prognathism. Occurs when the lower teeth jut out from the upper teeth.

We hope this helps you feel comfortable in navigating the interesting world of orthodontics. Of course, at South Surrey Smiles, we go out of our way to communicate what’s happening so our patients are informed and relaxed.

If you are considering an orthodontic treatment, give us a call for a consultation. We will be happy to talk orthodontic options with you.