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Orthodontic Dictionary

The following are the most commonly used terms in orthodontics. If you have any questions about orthodontics or would like to schedule an appointment, please contact our offices.

Orthodontic Dictionary in Atlanta & Suwanee, Georgia

a

Anterior Teeth:
The upper and lower six front teeth on each arch.
Appliance:
Any orthodontic device which moves or retains teeth. Appliances may also alter the positioning of the jaw.
Arch:
The entire upper or lower jaw.
Archwire:
The metal wire that connects orthodontic brackets. This wire guides the teeth into their new alignment.

b

Band with bracket:
Metal bands (rings) that are generally cemented around the back teeth.
Braces:
Fixed orthodontic appliances designed to align teeth.
Brackets:
The tiny metal, ceramic or clear brackets that are affixed to each individual tooth on the arch.
Brushing:
This is a crucial part of home dental care. Orthodontists recommend those wearing braces to brush after every meal and snack to eliminate bacteria and plaque.
Buccal:
The outer (cheek) side of posterior teeth in the lower and upper arches.

c

Cephalometric Radiograph:
A side X-ray of the face and head used to show growth and development.
Chain:
Elastics connected together and placed around the brackets to stabilize the archwire and gently close spaces.
Class I Malocclusion:
Molars are correctly aligned, but there is an anterior/posterior crossbite, an open bite or overcrowding on the arches.
Class II Malocclusion:
Also known as an overbite. The upper front teeth are positioned further forward than the lower teeth.
Class III Malocclusion:
Also known as an underbite. The lower front teeth are positioned further forward than the upper front teeth.
Closed Bite:
The upper front teeth completely overlap the bottom teeth causing a deep overbite.
Congenitally Missing Teeth:
Some permanent teeth fail to develop and erupt due to genetic factors.
Crossbite:
A malocclusion in which the upper back teeth bite inside or outside the lower back teeth, or the lower front teeth bite in front of the upper front teeth.

d

De-banding:
The removal of orthodontic bands from the teeth.
De-bonding:
The removal of affixed orthodontic brackets from the teeth.
Diagnostic Records:
Records used to assess, plan and implement treatments. These records usually include medical and dental history, radiographs, panoramic radiographs, bite molds and intraoral/extraoral photographs.
Digital Radiograph:
Digital X-rays of the teeth which can be viewed, stored, and transmitted via computer.

e

Elastics:
Some braces may require that elastic rubber bands be attached to exert additional pressure to an individual tooth or a group of teeth.
Eruption:
The way in which teeth surface through the gums inside the mouth.

f

Fixed Orthodontic Appliances:
Orthodontic appliances which are affixed to the teeth by the orthodontist and cannot be removed by the patient.
Flossing:
An essential part of home care that removes debris and plaque from above and below the gumline.
Functional Appliances:
Orthodontic appliances that use the muscle movement created by swallowing, eating and speaking to gently move and align the teeth and jaws.

g

Gingiva:
The gums and soft tissue around the teeth.

h

Headgear:
A removable appliance comprised of a brace and external archwire. This device modifies growth and promotes tooth movement.

i

Impressions:
Teeth impressions are taken to allow the orthodontist to see exactly how a patient’s teeth fit together.
Interceptive Treatment:
Treatment performed on children who have a mixture of adult and baby teeth. Early treatment can help reduce the need for major orthodontic treatment in the future.
Invisalign®:
A newer, removable type of dental aligner that is completely transparent and doesn’t interfere with eating because it’s removable. Not all patients are candidates for Invisalign®.

l

Ligating Modules:
An elastic donut-shaped ring which helps secure the archwire to the bracket.
Ligation:
Securing the archwire to the brackets.
Lingual Side:
The side of the teeth (in both arches) that is closest to the tongue.

m

Malocclusion:
Literally means “bad bite” in Latin, and refers to teeth that do not fit together correctly.
Mandible:
The lower jaw.
Maxilla:
The upper jaw.
Mouthguard:
A removable plastic or rubber device that protects teeth and braces from sporting injuries.

o

Open Bite:
Upper and lower teeth fail to make contact with each other. This malocclusion is generally classified as anterior or posterior.
Orthodontics:
The unique branch of dentistry concerned with diagnosing, preventing and correcting malocclusions and jaw irregularities.
Orthodontist:
A dental specialist who prevents, diagnoses and treats jaw irregularities and malocclusions. Orthodontists must complete two or three additional years of college after dental school and complete a residency program.

p

Palatal Expander:
A removable or fixed device designed to expand the palate in order to create room on either the upper or lower arch.
Panoramic Radiograph:
An extraoral (external) X-ray that shows the teeth and jaws.
Plaque:
The sticky film of saliva, food particles and bacteria that contributes to gum disease and tooth decay.
Posterior Teeth:
Back teeth.

r

Removable Appliance:
An orthodontic brace or device that can be removed at will by the patient. It must be worn for the designated amount of time each day to be effective.

s

Separators:
A wire loop or elastic ring placed between the teeth to create room for the subsequent placement of bands or orthodontic appliance.
Space Maintainer:
A fixed appliance used to hold space for a permanent (adult) tooth. This is usually used when a baby tooth has been lost earlier than anticipated.

w

Wax:
Orthodontic relief wax is a home care remedy used to alleviate irritations caused by braces.
Wires:
Attached to the brackets to gently move the teeth into proper alignment.
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Milestone Dentistry took over my Dentist of 30 years. I was pleasantly surprised by their efficiency and superior quality. Of course my Dentist, Dr. Robert Israel, would only choose the best.
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Amber M.

Milestone Dentistry review from Amber M.
Where do I start!? Everyone is so nice and very thorough! You will not be disappointed! Ann Marie my hygienist is the best in Atlanta hands down!! Dr. Huynh was very gentle and answered all my questions! 😁
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Brandon K.

Milestone Dentistry review from Brandon K.
Definitely recommend milestone! I hate the dentist to the point of avoiding them, until I knocked my crown off the week of July 4th. Milestone got me in THE SAME DAY to put a temp crown on and it was perfect, and recently went to have the permanent put on and I am very pleased.
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Felicia M.

Milestone Dentistry review from Felicia M.
It seems unnatural to say that I enjoyed my time at the dentist...but it’s true. I left my last dentist’s office because the dentist himself was dismissive of some pain that I was having. I have to say that every step of the process, from intake to x rays to cleaning and finally to dental consultation was wonderful. The entire staff was friendly. The office was spacious and equipped beautifully. Ann Marie and Dr. Huynh were a dream team! And of course Mary at the front desk takes care of your appointments and your estimates with ease. I can’t recommend this place enough!
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Randolph F.

Milestone Dentistry review from Randolph F.
The entire Staff are professional, extremely courteous and highly competent individuals!!I would highly recommend this practice to every and anyone !!
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Cynthia B.

Milestone Dentistry review from Cynthia B.
I am TERRIFIED of the dentist. I was in need of work, as reluctant as I was,I walked into Milestone. I was greeted by Mary Ra. I explained my fear, she listened, she put me at ease..introduced me to my "new friends" as she puts it before I made my appointment.It really help relieve some of my anxiety. I love love this office! AnnMarie took her time, provided me with music and a warm blanket. Cleaning was quick and painless. I would love to give this office 5k stars.
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Danyale S.

Milestone Dentistry review from Danyale S.
The staff and Dentist were extremely informative and caring when I had to get my wisdom tooth removed. This was my first visit with Dr. Huynh and he answered every question and concern that I had with extreme understanding and care during the procedure and after.
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M OI

Milestone Dentistry review from M OI
Great service! Very knowledgeable! Love that the organization caters to Special Needs young adults! Way to Go Team!
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Ellie V.

Milestone Dentistry review from Ellie V.
I can't sing enough praises of Dr. Jeffrey Wakefield. This man has a gift, super knowledgeable and talented. I've had 2 oral surgeries in 2 months with him and both experiences have been phenomenal. Today was my first time ever being put to sleep for a procedure and I was a bit nervous at first but the staff did a great job of explaining everything and answering any questions. The staff is very friendly, and while professional, they can still cut and take jokes! Lol. Dr. Wakefield is a joker himself. The office is always clean and organized. You have free bottled water and a machine that grounds coffee beans for multiple coffee options in the lobby. I highly recommend this place.
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