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Orthodontic Dictionary

The following are the most commonly used terms in orthodontics. 

Anterior Teeth: The upper and lower six front teeth on each arch.

Appliance: Any orthodontic device which moves or retains teeth.  Appliances may also alter the positioning of the jaw.

Arch: The entire upper or lower jaw.

Archwire: The metal wire that connects orthodontic brackets.  This wire guides the teeth into their new alignment.

Bands: Metal bands (rings) that are generally cemented around the back teeth.

Brackets: The tiny metal, ceramic or clear brackets that are affixed to each individual tooth on the arch.

Brushing: This is a crucial part of home dental care.  Orthodontists recommend those wearing braces to brush after every meal and snack to eliminate bacteria and plaque. 

Chain: Elastics connected together and placed around the brackets to stabilize the archwire and gently close spaces.

Closed Bite: The upper front teeth completely overlap the bottom teeth causing a deep overbite.

Congenitally Missing Teeth: Some permanent teeth fail to develop and erupt due to genetic factors.

Crossbite: A malocclusion in which the upper back teeth bite inside or outside the lower back teeth, or the lower front teeth bite in front of the upper front teeth.

Diagnostic Records: Records used to assess, plan and implement treatments.  These records usually include medical and dental history, panoramic radiographs, bite molds and intraoral/extraoral photographs.

Elastics: Some braces may require that elastic rubber bands be attached to exert additional pressure to an individual tooth or a group of teeth.

Eruption: The way in which teeth surface through the gums inside the mouth.

Fixed Orthodontic Appliances: Orthodontic appliances which are affixed to the teeth by the orthodontist and cannot be removed by the patient.

Flossing: An essential part of home care that removes debris and plaque from above and below the gumline.

Functional Appliances: Orthodontic appliances that use the muscle movement created by swallowing, eating and speaking to gently move and align the teeth and jaws.

Headgear: A removable appliance comprised of a brace and external archwire.  This device modifies growth and promotes tooth movement.

Impressions: Teeth impressions are taken to allow the orthodontist to see exactly how a patient’s teeth fit together.

Malocclusion: Literally means “bad bite” in Latin, and refers to teeth that do not fit together correctly.

Mouthguard: A removable plastic or rubber device that protects teeth and braces from sporting injuries.

Open Bite: Upper and lower teeth fail to make contact with each other.  This malocclusion is generally classified as anterior or posterior.

Palatal Expander: A removable or fixed device designed to expand the palate in order create room on either the upper or lower arch.

Posterior Teeth: Back teeth.

Removable Appliance: An orthodontic brace or device that can be removed at will by the patient.  It must be worn for the designated amount of time each day to be effective.

Separators: A wire loop or elastic ring placed between the teeth to create room for the subsequent placement of bands or orthodontic appliance.

Space Maintainer: A fixed appliance used to hold space for permanent (adult) tooth.  This is usually used when a baby tooth has been lost earlier than anticipated.

Wax: Orthodontic relief wax is a home care remedy used to alleviate irritations caused by braces.

 

Testimonials

"I wanted to get braces and wanted to get it from a good orthodontist. So I did my research and went to 4 different consultations including one from Legacy. The other orthodontists said that I wouldn't need any extractions, even though I had crowding. However, Dr. William Chen and Dr. Pham from Legacy, recommended an extraction due to crowding, which made more sense, because if I didn't get an extraction then my teeth would extend out. So I decided to get my braces done here which I love going to. The doctors and staff here are welcoming and friendly every time I walk into the office. They take their time working on my braces and never rush. The cool part about going here is that they have this rewards system called "Legacy Cash" where you get these money cards and if you earn up to a certain amount, you redeem them for prizes such as movie tickets, go kart racing, ipods, and even an ipad! You earn them by going to your appointments on time, getting your regular cleanings done, and other things to motivate you. Overall I love going here and definitely recommend this office to anyone who wants braces done by professionals who know what they're doing and who take their time working on you."

Nina B.

"Dr. Chen and the staff at Legacy Orthodontics have been amazing. I decided to fix some minor problems in my bite as an adult and couldn't decide if I wanted to wear braces again. I initially took my son there for his braces and soon after decided to start a treatment plan myself. I couldn't imagine better. It has been easy to make appointments and the staff throughout the office is welcoming and friendly. It is clear they all enjoy working for Dr. Chen. I look forward to a perfect smile again and am truly glad I decided to have my family be part of the Legacy Orthodontics family."

Sandie Toohey

"Legacy Orthodontics Rocks! Thanks Dr. Chen and your staff for making my braces really cool and my smile so colorful. You have such a great office where everyone is so nice and always in a good mood. Its a fun place to visit and I'm glad my mom chose your office for my braces!"

Colin Toohey

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