You might hear Dr. Buddy use a technical term, or see something here on our site, that you aren’t sure about. If you’re wondering what certain industry terms mean, look no further than this glossary we’ve compiled for you!

If you still need help understanding a term or would like a definition to something that isn’t listed here, don’t hesitate to call our office at 337-465-4139 or fill out our online contact form. We look forward to helping you!

Orthodontic Terms

  • Banding: This refers to the placing of metal bands on the premolars or molars. These bands contain the last bracket of your braces and are much stronger than regular brackets that are cemented to your teeth, allowing them to handle the forces at the end of the wire.
  • Bonding: This is the process of attaching brackets to your teeth. It involves cleaning and preparing your teeth to help the bonds last throughout treatment.
  • Cephalometric X-Ray: These specialized X-rays capture an entire side profile of your head. We can use this X-ray to determine if there are any jaw alignment issues that need orthodontic treatment.
  • Consultation: A meeting with your orthodontist, Dr. Buddy, to determine what treatments may be needed and to discuss options for your orthodontic future. Always free for new patients at Donaldson 3D Orthodontics!
  • Debonding: After your orthodontic treatment is over, we debond your brackets using a special pair of pliers that simply pop them right off! We then use a filing device to remove excess glue.
  • Extractions: Removal of teeth. For orthodontics, this is done to remove teeth that are overcrowded. Extraction is also done in cases of extreme damage, decay, or trauma.
  • Impressions: A 3D model of your teeth, these are traditionally taken by using a putty that takes a negative impression of your mouth. At Donaldson 3D Orthodontics, we use digital modeling techniques to get an incredibly accurate model of your mouth – far better than a physical one!
  • Interceptive Treatment: Best done in young patients, this is preventive treatment of bite and alignment problems before they are allowed to fully develop.
  • Interproximal Reduction (IPR): Minor reshaping of your teeth, usually at the sides, to help reduce overcrowding or alignment problems due to oversized or overlapped teeth. This can also help fix overcrowding without tooth extraction.
  • Oral Hygiene: The cleanliness of your teeth and gums. To maintain the best oral hygiene, brush twice daily and floss once!
  • Orthodontic Adjustment: Your every four-to-six-week visits where we adjust your braces or supply you with new Invisalign aligners. This keeps you on the path toward the perfect smile!
  • Panoramic X-Ray: These 2D X-rays give a flat but complete view of your teeth. At Donaldson 3D Orthodontics, we use advanced digital tools to create a 3D panoramic image of your teeth, giving us not just a look at your teeth but also at their positions.
  • Surgery: Oral surgery can have a variety of objectives. For orthodontics, it is usually done to correct severely misaligned bones in your jaw or palate.
  • Two-Phase Treatment: This involves the use of interceptive, or preventive, orthodontics combined with traditional solutions later on. Preventive orthodontics can do a great job at eliminating serious issues, but often, alignment has to be maintained through the use of braces.
  • Wax: No matter how slim and small braces brackets become, they can still irritate your mouth. Orthodontic wax is a soft, pliable wax that can be placed over the brackets to provide relief and prevent irritation to sensitive areas in your or your child’s mouth.

Orthodontic Devices

  • Archwire: the wire that runs between brackets and straightens your teeth.
  • Bands: metal bands that wrap around your teeth, usually your molars. Used to stabilize your braces.
  • Brackets: the metal pieces attached to your teeth that hold the archwire in place.
  • Buccal Tube: special brackets on the back molars that have extra attachments for elastics and other devices used to straighten your teeth.
  • Chain: small linked rubber rings that run between brackets along with archwires. These are used to create more force and close gaps between teeth.
  • Elastics: there are two kinds of elastics: ligatures are the small rubber bands that hold the archwire to your brackets, and interarch elastics run between the upper and lower arch. Interarch elastics move the teeth into a proper bite position.
  • Expander: a metal device used in interceptive orthodontics to increase the size of your upper jaw, which also expands your upper arch.
  • Fixed Retainer: a small piece of metal permanently attached to the back of your teeth. It works like a retainer to hold your teeth perfectly in place.
  • Forsus: a strong spring-like device that attaches to your braces and helps eliminate overbites. Using an almost piston-like combination of a spring and rod, a forsus moves your bottom arch forward while pulling your upper arch back until the two meet!
  • Invisalign: a series of clear aligner trays that you wear in your mouth to correct your teeth alignment just like braces do! They’re also completely clear – no one will know you’re wearing them!
  • Lingual Arch: a metal wire attached to your back molars that prevents them from drifting out of position during orthodontic treatment.
  • Lip Bumper: similar to a lingual arch, a lip bumper is used to push your molars back, creating more room for crowded teeth.
  • Mouth Guard: used for several reasons, mouthguards can treat sleep apnea, teeth grinding, and even prevent damage and concussions when playing sports!
  • Nance: similar to the lingual arch and lip bumper, but designed for the upper arch. A nance appliance keeps your upper molars from drifting out of place during treatment.
  • Quad Helix: this device is attached to the molars of the upper arch and uses springs to slowly widen the arch to make room for crowded teeth.
  • Removable Retainer: after your orthodontic treatment is over, you’ll wear a removable retainer to keep your teeth perfectly aligned. Many patients will wear their retainer during the day and night at first, and over time will only need to wear their retainer during sleep.
  • Separators: made of either metal or rubber, separators go between your molars to make room for metal bands.
  • Spring Aligner: a small plastic and metal device that you wear all day, except for when brushing or eating. Using springs, an aligner can correct minor misalignment and crowding of the front teeth, leaving you with a nice straight smile!
  • Thumb Crib: a metal device used to stop thumb sucking. It attaches to your upper arch behind your front teeth and obstructs or makes thumb sucking uncomfortable.
  • Transpalatal Bar: a metal bar that is attached to the molars of your upper arch. This device is used to prevent shifting of the molars during orthodontic treatment.


Orthodontics does more than straighten your teeth! From better sleep, relieving jaw pain and better overall health – orthodontics can help!