David Hertzberg, DDS, MS
160 Commerce Drive,
Suite 101
Grayslake, IL 60030
Tel: 847-548-4330

Ortho Dictionary

Ortho Dictionary

Parts of Braces


Anything your orthodontist attaches to your teeth which moves your teeth or changes the shape of your jaw.


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.


A metal ring that is cemented to your tooth and goes completely around your tooth. Bands provide a way to attach brackets to your teeth.


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


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

Coil Spring

A spring that fits between your brackets and over your archwire to open space between 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 rubber band that fits around your bracket to hold the archwire in place. They come in a variety of colors.


A device that is used to correct underbites. It is worn at home and is designed to move the upper jaw forward.


A welded or removable arm to which elastics are attached.


A thin wire that holds your archwire into your bracket.

Mini Screw

A temporary implant that is used to move teeth in ways that braces by themselves cannot.


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.


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 and 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.

Tie Wire

A fine wire that is twisted around your bracket to hold the archwire in place.


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

Orthodontic Procedures


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


The process of attaching brackets to your teeth using special orthodontic cement.

Cephalometric X-ray

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


A meeting with your orthodontist to discuss a treatment plan.


The process of removing cemented orthodontic bands from your teeth.


The process of removing cemented orthodontic brackets from your teeth.


The process of making a model of your teeth by biting into a soft material that hardens into a mold of your teeth. Your orthodontist will use these impressions to prepare your treatment plan.


An alternative to traditional braces, Invisalign straightens your teeth with a series of clear custom-molded aligners. Invisalign can correct some, but not all, orthodontic problems.


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

Panoramic X-ray

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

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