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Term Definition

A general term used to describe any device used by an orthodontist, such as braces, retainer, biteplate, etc.


An archwire is a U-shaped piece of wire that is attached to the brackets on the teeth. The two main components of braces, which are normally visible, are the archwires and the brackets. The purpose of an archwire is to help shape the layout of the teeth into an optimal "arch" pattern. As teeth are moved with tensions and pressures, the archwire provides a guiding and shaping force to achieve the desired arch shape.


A band is a metal sleeve which is cemented to a tooth, usually a back molar, to provide an anchor point for the ends of the archwires.


The process of fitting and attaching bands to the teeth.


Tooth with two points or cusps. There are two of these located between the cuspid and the molar in each quadrant of the mouth.


An orthopedic or "functional" appliance resembling a retainer. It is used to stimulate growth of the lower jaw in actively growing patients.


An appliance similar to a retainer that is used to correct a deepbite or to help correct a crossbite.


The process of cementing brackets to the teeth.


Brackets are cemented to the teeth and provide a means to attach the archwire to each tooth. Elastics may also be attached to the brackets to create tension.

cephalometric X-ray

A large X-ray of the patient's head. Usually taken from the side view, a cephalometric X-ray provides the orthodontist with information about how the patient's teeth, jaw and soft tissue relate to each other.

clear braces

Refer to brackets made of a clear material. This helps to make the wearing of braces less noticeable.


Exists when the relationship of one or more opposing teeth (upper and lower) is reversed, i.e. underbite.


Condition where teeth are too numerous or too large to fit into the existing jaw causing an overlap.


Also known as "removable braces", these devices are similar to retainers in that they are not cemented to the teeth as traditional braces are, but can be snapped on and off in the same manner as retainers. The advantages of crozats are that they generally are less noticeable than traditional braces and that they can be removed completely for short periods of time. A disadvantage of crozats is that they can take longer to obtain the desired results.


A tooth with a single point or cusp next to the front incisors. Sometimes called a canine tooth.

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321 Bulwer Street
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E-mail: orthodontist@sainet.co.za
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