Mon to Thu: 8 am - 6 pm, Fri: 9 am - 1 pm, Sat: Consultations by prior appointment 

call us today02 9672 6113

Orthodontic terms explained

Like many areas of the medical profession, orthodontics comes with its fair share of specific terms, and chances are you’ll hear a few over the course of orthodontic treatment.

Here are some of the most common orthodontic terms and what they really mean…

Adjustment – An appointment with your orthodontist where the position of your teeth are assessed and changes are made to your orthodontic appliance to further progress treatment.

Arch wire –The arch wire is the wire that connects to brackets and gently shifts your teeth. Over the course of treatment, your orthodontist will change the strength of the arch wire to shift the teeth and jaw into the correct position.

Appliance – Any item an orthodontist custom fits or affixes to your mouth to shift teeth or change the shape of your jaw. Braces are an appliance, as are retainers and plates.

Bracket – Again this one will be second nature to you by the time your braces come off. The bracket is the metal component that is bonded to teeth to hold the arch wire.

Bonding – Another word for “gluing” or adhering brackets to teeth.

Cross bite – Cross bite is the condition where a single upper tooth or group of teeth sits behind the opposing bottom teeth. It can occur in the front or side of the mouth and is often the result of a narrow upper jaw.

Elastics – Small rubber bands that are connected from one bracket to another to correct your bite.

Invisalign – An alternative to traditional braces that uses a series of custom-fitted clear aligners to shift teeth into position.

Imaging – Imaging refers to X-rays or scans of your mouth and teeth that are used to assess treatment options and effectiveness.

Impressions – These are the first step of creating moulds of your mouth and teeth. Traditionally impressions are made by biting into a rubber-like substance.

Malocclusion – This is a word that sounds a lot more technical than it is. Malocclusion is quite simply the misalignment of teeth.

Open bite – An open bite occurs when front teeth are unable to meet even when the jaws are closed

Over bite – Increased overbite refers to top teeth excessively overlapping the bottom teeth vertically.

Overjet – Increased overjet refers to excessive protrusion of the top teeth beyond the bottom teeth horizontally.

Under bite – Under bite refers to a scenario where the bottom teeth protrude beyond the upper teeth.

Self-ligating braces – Unlike traditional braces, self-ligating braces do not require the archwire to be tied to the bracket. Instead a “passive” slide mechanism maintains arch-wires within the bracket, allowing them to move freely. This is a feature of Damon braces, and often results in reduced treatment time.

About Norwest Orthodontics

Norwest Orthodontics specialises in helping you achieve a great smile, no matter your age. We feature a range of orthodontic treatments that span from early intervention right through to remedial adult work.

Our aim is to ensure all areas of orthodontic work are easily understood and comfortable. We are committed to first-rate customer service that extends through every area of our practice.

You can learn more about our services here, or contact us directly to make an appointment.


Orthodontic terms explained

more to read

Schedule an appointment