Orthodontist Braces Kansas City MO | Creekwood Orthodontics

Common Orthodontic Terms

Dr. Dorsch and the staff at Creekwood Orthodontics want you to feel informed about your orthodontic treatment plan. Whether you need traditional braces or Invisalign, when we create your individualized treatment plan we meet with you to make sure you understand exactly what the plan entails and what we need from you to make the plan work. We strive to make your visits to our office pleasurable and informative. This glossary contains some of the most common terms used in our treatments and will help you better understand the treatment process.


Anything that is attached to your teeth that moves your teeth or corrects your bite.


A wire engaged in orthodontic attachments, affixed to the crowns of two or more teeth and guides the direction of tooth movement.

attachments (speed bumps)

Used with active Invisalign treatment, they are small tooth-colored shapes that are attached to your teeth before or during your Invisalign treatment. They’re like handles, giving aligners something to gently push on. Invisalign® clear aligners fit smoothly and tightly around them, so they’re barely noticeable.

band (orthodontic)

A thin metal ring, usually stainless steel, which serves to secure orthodontic attachments to a tooth. The band is closely adapted to fit the contours of the tooth and then cemented into place.


This is another name for the way your teeth fit together when you bring them into a normal chewing relation.


An orthodontic attachment made of metal, ceramic or plastic that holds the archwire against each tooth. The archwire fits into a slot in the bracket. Brackets may be attached directly to each tooth or to a band.


An elastic chain that is used to hold the archwires onto the brackets.

coil spring

The coil spring fits between brackets and over the archwire.


Nature intended that all of your teeth fit in an orderly manner. That is, all of the upper teeth fitting slightly on the outside of your lower teeth. When a lower tooth slips to the outside of an upper tooth, this is what we call a crossbite.

debanding (debonding)

Usually cause for celebration! This is the removal of cemented orthodontic brackets/bands and may signify the end of treatment.

elastics (rubber bands)

Elastics are rubber bands frequently used to correct different types of malocclusions. The longevity of the elastic wear may vary from two weeks to several months. The elastic wear can be worn from 12 to 23 hours per day, either during the night or throughout the day depending on the requirements for each malocclusion, The many different types of elastics may produce different forces on teeth. Therefore, using elastics with specific forces is critical in achieving a good orthodontic occlusion.

fixed retainer

A permanent retainer that is bonded to the back side of the front teeth to keep the teeth from shifting from their new position.

habit appliance (tongue crib)

An appliance designed to deter thumb or finger sucking habits.

hook (k-hook)

Small additional attachment that is on your braces. It is usually used to attach rubber bands directly to the archwire. Should one break between appointments, notify our office immediately.

interceptive treatment (Phase 1)

Interceptive treatment, also known as early treatment, is limited orthodontic treatment usually performed between the ages of 6 and 10. This phase of treatment makes future orthodontic treatment faster and less invasive.

Itero® scan

The Itero® Scanner allows us to take a digital impression – a highly accurate, digital 3D image, of the individual characteristics of your tooth surfaces and gum tissue without any radiation. The scan is all about keeping you comfortable while delivering precise imagery, without the putty-filled impression tray that could make you gag. The impression depends on the level of treatment required.

lingual appliances

Orthodontic appliances fixed to the interior (tongue) side of teeth and is used to retain space as primary (baby) teeth are lost.


Equals “crooked” teeth. Mal = bad; occlusion = relation of teeth. Usually, then, a malocclusion is teeth that are chewing in a poor relationship with each other. This is the basic reason we have gone into orthodontic care for you.


Of or pertaining to the upper jaw. May be used to describe teeth, dental restorations, orthodontic appliances or facial structures.


A mouthpiece that is tailored to provide protection to the braces and teeth while the patient is playing a sport.

oral health rating

Now that you have braces, we will give you instructions on the correct way to brush your teeth It then becomes your job to keep your mouth bright and clean, not only for your comfort, but for the health of your mouth. Each time you come in for an appointment, you will receive a rating of the following on your brushing skills: Excellent, Good. Fair or Needs Improvement. Your rating should be in the Excellent or Good category. If your rating should ever change, you might need to visit the instructions you received and increase your diligence with your personal brushing.


Little rubber rings, with or without colors, that are sometimes used instead of tiewires to attach your archwire to the brackets.

orthodontic records

Used for diagnostic purposes and to help determine orthodontic treatment.


Merely a term to describe the upper teeth biting over the lower teeth. Some overbite is normal. Too much overbite can cause severe problems and facial changes that are not particularly good.

Rapid Maxillary Expander (RME) or palatal expander

Attached to the upper molars through bonding or by cemented bands, the palatal expander is used to create a wider space in the upper jaw.


Any orthodontic appliance, fixed or removable, used to maintain the position of the teeth following corrective treatment.


Small elastics that fit snugly between certain teeth to move them slightly so bands can be placed around them later.


Usually attached to the bands on the very back teeth, or molars, we will place a long, round, or rectangular tube. The arch or lingual wires will rest into this at the back of the mouth.


Soft material that can be used to temporarily cover sharp surfaces inside your mouth. This helps protect the mouth’s soft tissues, such as the gums, lips and lining of the cheeks.

If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to reach out to one of our Creekwood Orthodontic offices conveniently located in Kansas City, Liberty and Cameron. We are here to help you better understand the needs of your oral health and to keep you and your family with happy, healthy smiles. Call (816) 454-6800 or set up your free consultation using our convenient online appointment form today. We look forward to serving you soon.