Stevens Orthodontics

about orthodontics

Ortho Dictionary

Appliance: Anything Dr. Clark custom designs for your teeth, either fixed to the teeth or removable, which moves your teeth or changes the shape of your jaw.

Archwire: The metal wire that acts as a track to guide your teeth along as they move. It is changed periodically throughout treatment as your teeth move to their new positions.

Band: A metal ring that is cemented to your tooth, going completely around it. Bands provide a way to attach brackets to your teeth.

Banding: The process of fitting and cementing orthodontic bands to your teeth.

Bond: The seal created by orthodontic cement that holds your appliances in place.

Bracket: A metal or ceramic part cemented ("bonded") to your tooth that holds your archwire in place.

Cephalometric X-ray: An x-ray of your head which shows the relative positions and growth of the face, jaws, and teeth.

Coil Spring: A spring that fits between your brackets and over your archwire to open space between your teeth.

Cone Beam CT: Similar to a CAT scan, it takes a 3-D picture of your jaws using much less radiation than a CAT scan.

Damon System: A system of braces that uses brackets with small 'doors' that hold the wire into the bracket instead of an elastic or metal tie. Because of this, the teeth move with less friction along the arch wire, so Dr. Clark doesn't have to push the teeth as hard to move them. This is gentler to the teeth, bones and gums and can make treatment both faster and more comfortable. Find out more elsewhere on this site or at

Debonding: The process of removing cemented orthodontic brackets from your teeth.

Elastic (Rubber Band): A small rubber band that is hooked between different points on your appliance to provide pressure to move your teeth to their new position.

Elastic Tie: The tiny rubber band that fits around your bracket to hold the archwire in place. They come in a variety of colors.

Headgear: Headgear uses an external wire apparatus known as a facebow to gently guide the growth of your face and jaw by moving your teeth into proper position. The force is applied to the facebow by a spring-loaded neck strap or head strap. The straps have a safety release that disconnects if the facebow is pulled or snagged.

Headgear Tube: A round, hollow attachment on your back bands. The inner bow of your headgear fits into it.

Hook: A welded or removable arm to which elastics are attached.

Incognito: A system of lingual (tongue side) braces involving custom braces made of gold.

iCAT: A brand of Cone Beam CT machine – the best one available.

Impressions: The process of making a mold of your teeth by biting into a soft material that stiffens quickly into a mold of your teeth.

InOvation L: A brand of lingual (tongue side) braces that, in combination with the SureSmile system, can straighten your teeth efficiently.

Ligation: The process of attaching an archwire to the brackets on your teeth.

Ligature: A thin wire that holds your archwire into your bracket.

Lingual: Literally means “tongue side” referring to the teeth. Usually refers to braces placed on the tongue side of the teeth.

Mouthguard: A device that protects your mouth from injury when you participate in sports or rigorous activities.

Palatal Expander: A device that makes your upper jaw wider.

Panoramic X-ray: An x-ray that rotates around your head to take pictures of your teeth, jaw, and other facial areas.

Retainer: An appliance that is worn after your braces are removed, the retainer attaches to your upper and/or lower teeth to hold them in place. Some retainers are removable, while others are bonded to the tongue-side of several teeth.

Separator or Spacer: A small rubber ring that creates space between your teeth before the bands are attached.

SureSmile: Leading-edge technology which lets your orthodontist see and plan your orthodontic treatment better than ever before. Once the individualized treatment is planned by Dr. Clark a robot bends a custom archwire for each patient. It can shorten treatment time by 20-50% and permit more accurate fit of your teeth. For more information look elsewhere on this site or see

Tie Wire: A fine wire (same as a ligature) that is twisted around your bracket to hold the archwire in place.

Wax: Wax is used to stop your braces from irritating your lips.

W arch: The type of expander that Dr. Clark uses. It expands the upper jaw more slowly and more gently than expanders that use screws.


Andrew E. Clark, DMD, MS ■ 5555 Roanoke Trail ■ Tallahassee, FL 32312 ■ (850) 385-2822