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Orthodontic Dictionary

Being familiar with common orthodontic terms can help you better communicate throughout your treatment. For terms that relate to braces, visit our Parts of Braces page. During your appointment we will take the time to answer any of your questions, including questions related to terminology. Our office services patients in and around the Boston, Brookline, Norwood and Framingham communities.

Orthodontic Terms

  • Adjustment – A change made to your braces to continue your treatment
  • Anesthetic – A drug used to prevent a certain part of your body from feeling any pain
  • Appliance – Any device used to move the teeth and jaw, or to hold them in place
  • Bonding – The act of fastening brackets to the teeth with an adhesive
  • Cavity – A hole in the tooth caused by decay
  • Crowding – When too many teeth occupy a certain amount of space
  • Crown – An artificial tooth or covering on a tooth
  • Debonding – Removing the brackets and adhesive from the teeth
  • Erupt – When a tooth breaks through the surface of the gums
  • Impressions – Making a model of the teeth by biting into a rubber-like piece
  • Invisalign® – Clear, overlay retainers that are used to align teeth that require minor movement
  • Lip Bumper – Pushes the molars back to make room for other teeth
  • Malocclusion – A misalignment of the upper and lower teeth
  • Mouthguard – A device used to protect the teeth from injuries during sports
  • Overbite – When the top teeth overlap the bottom teeth
  • Phase 1 Treatment – The first step of a treatment to prepare younger patients for future dental work
  • Phase 2 Treatment – The use of braces or other orthodontic appliances when all the adult teeth have grown in
  • Plaque – A sticky, colorless substance that contains bacteria and is found on the teeth, causing tooth decay
  • Retainer – A device used after braces are removed to keep the teeth from shifting
  • Underbite – When the lower teeth extend past and overlap the upper teeth
  • X-Rays – Photographs taken by the orthodontist to examine the teeth and jaw

Susan Baloul, DMD, MS, DScD, a dual-trained specialist in orthodontics and periodontics at Elegant Orthodontics, treats helps adults in the Boston, Brookline, Norwood and Framingham, MA areas with orthodontics to straighten teeth and correct a misaligned bite and jaws. Contact our office today for more information.


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