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Ortho Dictionary

Choose your Glossery

Normal & Abnormal Bite


Abnormal immobility or fusion of the tooth to the surrounding bone. An ankylosed tooth does not move by orthodontic forces.

Crossbite of Front Teeth with Functional Shift 

When upper front teeth contact edge to edge and the patient needs to shift the lower jaw forward to be able to chew.

Crossbite of Back Teeth with Functional Shift

When upper jaw is narrow and patient needs to shift the lower jaw to one side to be able to chew.


Malalignment of teeth caused by a lack of space for teeth to be straight.

Ectopic Eruption

Teeth growing into the mouth in an abnormal spot.


Teeth growing into the mouth in a normal spot. 

Gummy smile

An excessive exposure of upper gum during a full smile.

Impacted tooth 

Total or partial lack of eruption of a tooth.


The relationship of the upper and lower teeth as they bite together. 


Lack of contact between a few teeth while other teeth are in contact. 


Vertical overlap of the lower front teeth by the upper front teeth. 


Horizontal projection of the upper front teeth beyond the lower front teeth. 

Peg Lateral

Small upper front tooth.

Root Resorption 

An abnormal process during which roots become shorter. 

Supernumerary tooth

An extra tooth. Often malformed or erupting abnormally.

Transitional Dentition

AKA mixed dentition. A phase from baby teeth to permanent teeth. In this phase both dentitions are present in the month.


AKA front crossbite. An abnormal bite when lower front teeth are ahead of the upper front teeth.

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Orthodontic Parts


Any orthodontic device that we use to move your teeth. Read more about common appliances.


The metal wire placed into the braces. Read more about archwires.


A metal ring made of stainless steel that is cemented to your molars. Bands provide a way to attach brackets to your molars.


Prevents upper and lower teeth to occlude completely.


AKA braces. Metal or ceramic pieces that are secured onto the teeth to hold the archwire in place. Read more about braces.

Coil Spring

A spring that fits between brackets and over the archwire to open space between teeth.


AKA Rubber Band. A small band made of rubber that is hooked between different brackets to provide pressure to move teeth to a new position. Read more about rubber bands.

Ligature ties

AKA Colors. The tiny colored rings made of rubber that fits around a bracket to hold the archwire in place.


A removable appliance made of rubber that protects teeth from injury when participating in sports. Read more about mouth-guard.

Palatal Expansion

An orthopedic process to widen the upper jaw when it is narrow. Read more about palatal expansion.

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Orthodontic Procedure


An appliance that is worn after braces are removed, to hold teeth in their final position. Read more about different types of retainer. 


An elastic ring placed between teeth to separate them.


The process of refreshing orthodontic forces to move teeth to a new spot.

Bonding - Indirect Technique 

Placing braces on a plaster model of the teeth first and transfering them to the teeth using a lab fabricated template.

Bonding - Direct Technique

Placing braces directly on the teeth.


Removing brackets off of the teeth.


Removal of a tooth.


The surgical removal of a frenum, a fold of fibers connecting the upper lip to the gum.

Gingiva Graft

A surgical procedure to patch the gum where it lacks proper width and height.


An imprint of the teeth made by biting into a soft material that hardens into a mold of the teeth.

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