Clear Aligners

Orthodontic glossary

Posted on September 17th, 2020

Abnormal Eruption: This is when a tooth emerges through the gum in the wrong place or there isn’t enough space for it to come in at all, and it’s stuck in your bone.

Aligner: Clear Aligners are a series of plastic replicas of your teeth that are programmed to gradually move your teeth into their optimal position overtime.

Clear aligners are customized just for you, based on your treatment plan, and created by your orthodontist.

Attachments: Attachments (or tooth buttons) are small, tooth-colored buttons that are placed on your teeth, and are used as handles to anchor clear aligners to naturally slippery teeth.

Attachments are prescribed by your orthodontist in specific shapes and sizes, and are used in conjunction with clear aligners to move your teeth into their optimal position.

Bite How top and bottom teeth come together. Ideally, each tooth meets its opposite tooth in a way that promotes functions such as biting, chewing, and speaking. A bad bite is called a malocclusion.

Bite Ramp: Small glass-ionomer cement or acrylic ramps that are bonded to the inside of the upper front anterior teeth or on the chewing surface of back posterior teeth. They are designed to disocclude the posterior teeth for improved efficiency when treating deep bites.

Braces: An orthodontic appliance that has been around for over 100 years that is used to straighten teeth and correct your bite. Braces are made up of metal brackets that are glued to your teeth, and connected wires that help move your teeth over time.

Brackets: They are small orthodontic attachments (metal or ceramic) secured to a tooth for fastening an archwire. Each attachment is either soldered or welded to a previously placed band enclosing the tooth, or is bonded directly onto the tooth.

Canine: Your canine is the pointed tooth between the incisors and premolars.

Carrieres: The Carriere Distalizer is an orthodontic device developed to correct a bite without removing permanent teeth when teeth have erupted incorrectly. The appliance corrects misalignment of the canine teeth and molars on either side of the upper arch while only attaching to three teeth.

Chewies: Chewies are small, spongy cushions that help to close any air gaps between your aligners and teeth.

Class I Malocclusion: A malocclusion in which the back molars meet properly, but the front teeth may appear to be crowded together, spaced apart, there may be an overbite, an open bite, a posterior (back) crossbite or an anterior (front) crossbite.

Class II Malocclusion: A malocclusion where the upper front teeth are protruding, or the lower teeth and/or jaw is positioned back relative to the upper teeth and/or jaw.

Class III Malocclusion: A malocclusion where the lower teeth and/or jaw is positioned ahead relative to the upper teeth and/or jaw.

Closed Bite: Also known as a deep overbite, this occurs when the upper front teeth overlap the bottom front teeth an excessive amount.

Crossbite: A crossbite is when one or more of your top teeth lie inside your bottom teeth, closer to your tongue than your lips.

Crowding: Crowding generally refers to teeth that are not straight. It means that there is not enough space for them to align naturally within your jaw.

Edge-to-Edge: This is when your top and bottom front teeth lie exactly on each other, so your top teeth don’t stick out in front of your bottom teeth at all.

This is considered bad, because it puts unnecessary pressure on your front teeth. A healthy bite has about 1mm overjet and 1mm crossbite.

Elastics: Elastics are used to correct sagittal malocclusions, or side bite problems. These include underbites, edge-to-edge bites, and overjets.

Existing Dental Work: In general this refers to bridgework, dental implants, or crowns. It is important for your orthodontist to know if you’ve had any work done because treatment plans must be created with the understanding that dental implants and bridgework cannot be moved.

Incisor: You have eight incisors - which are your front top and bottom teeth - located between your canines.

Interproximal Reduction (IPR): Interproximal reduction is a procedure that makes room to align crowded teeth. It involves slimming teeth using diamond dust.

Malocclusion: Latin for “bad bite.” The term is used in orthodontics to describe teeth that do not fit together properly.

Misaligned Midlines: When the center of your top teeth and center of your bottom teeth aren’t aligned.

Mixed Dentition: This is when you have both baby teeth and adult teeth in your mouth. Generally, the ideal stage to start your orthodontic treatment is when you have most of your adult teeth and some baby teeth.

Occlusion: Latin for “bite.” This describes how the upper and lower teeth meet.

Open Bite: When your top front teeth do not touch your lower front teeth. This malocclusion makes using your front teeth for anything functional impossible.

Orthodontics: Orthodontics is the art of tooth movement for the sake of creating a beautiful smile and functional bite. As a subspecialty of dentistry, it requires a three-year training after dental school.

Orthodontist: Orthodontists are the specialists in tooth movement, who go through 11 years of higher education to become the experts in creating beautiful smiles and functional bites.

Their education includes four years of pre-med, four years of dental school, and three years of orthodontic speciality residency.

Overbite: When your top front teeth cover your bottom front teeth (vertically).

Overjet: When your top teeth stick out over your bottom teeth (horizontally).

Power Arms: An orthodontic power arm has a body with a bonding surface for attachment to a tooth. A blade-shaped arm extends gingivally from the body and has a width extending in a mesial-distal direction.

Power Ridge: A power ridge is a feature on the aligners that delivers force on a tooth at a specified position. Power ridges can be used to accomplish an in and out tipping of the front teeth. On the aligner, they appear at the gumline on the outside and at the tooth edge on the inside of the upper and lower front teeth.

Reverse Smile Arc: When your front teeth (central incisors) appear shorter than your lateral or canines. This is the opposite of the ideal smile arc.

Rubber Bands: Rubber Bands are a larger form of elastic that are employed to apply pressure to the jaw to help achieve proper alignment of your bite. Rubber bands can be inserted in several different configurations to meet the connective force requirements you need.

Spacing: When your teeth do not touch each other, this results in either visual spaces or small spaces that aren’t visibility noticeable. This can also refer to as gaps between your teeth.

Underbite: When your top front teeth are behind your bottom front teeth.

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