Glossary of Terms


A wire that fits into the braces (brackets) on the teeth. The archwire provides the force to move the teeth.

Band (orthodontic)

A thin metal ring which secures orthodontic attachments to a tooth. Bands, if needed, are only used on the back molars.


The common term for brackets is braces. A bracket is an orthodontic attachment that is glued on to a tooth for the purpose of engaging an archwire. Brackets can be made of metal, ceramic or plastic.


Crowding (Crooked Teeth) happens when there is not enough room for the teeth to fit together properly.


The removal of cemented orthodontic bands and brackets.

Elastics (rubber bands)

Rubber bands that the orthodontist has the patient wear (usually from the upper brackets to the lower brackets) to move the teeth.


An expander is a type of a device called an appliance that is used to broaden the back teeth to make enough room for all of the teeth to fit. An expander is typically glued into place. We use the latest technology in expanders, so that Dr. Kyger does all the adjusting in the office. You do not need to do any adjusting at home.


The gum tissue that surrounds the teeth.


A device that has a strap that fits around the back of the head or neck and attaches to the upper braces. It is used to correct what is commonly called an overbite.

Herbst appliance

A device that is glued onto the upper and lower teeth that is typically used to correct overbites that are beyond what a headgear could correct.


Refers to photos, x-rays, or scans that the orthodontist uses to diagnose and treat patients.
Refers to the lower jaw. This term may be used in the description of teeth, orthodontic appliances or facial structures.


Refers to the upper jaw. This term may be used in the description of teeth, orthodontic appliances or facial structures.

Orthognathic Surgery

Commonly referred to as jaw surgery, it is done by an oral surgeon in conjunction with orthodontic treatment. In rare cases, the way the jaw bones have grown requires that a surgery be done to improve the appearance of the face and the ability to chew food properly.


Another term for an x-ray. There are several x-rays used by orthodontists. A panoramic x-ray shows the orthodontist how the teeth relate to each other and the jaw bones. A cephalometric x-ray shows the orthodontist how the upper jaw bone and teeth relate to the lower jaw bone and teeth.


Any orthodontic appliance, fixed (glued on) or removable, used to maintain the position of the teeth following treatment.