Understanding braces terminologies

By In Braces treatment April 8, 2018

The benefits of orthodontic treatment are plenty.  Your teeth will be straighter.  Your jaw shape will become more symmetrical.  You can brush and floss easier and better.  You bite comes together better.  You chew food better. You speak better.   Best of all, you will look more attractive and gain more self-confidence.  To accomplish these goals, Dr. Nancy Phan needs to install orthodontic appliances in your mouth at the start of treatment.  These appliances are custom-designed to achieve the specific treatment plan and accurate movements for your teeth.  Below are some orthodontic components that are commonly used in our office:

Brackets are handles for your teeth. 

Bands are rings for your teeth and wires are tracks for your teeth to move. 

Braces are referred to a combination of brackets, bands and wires used in orthodontic treatment.

Spacers are little rubber bands that go in between the back molars.  They create spaces for insertion of bands or orthodontics devices. They help with alignment of your teeth.

Expanders are used to widen your jaws and to create spaces. A palatal expander can separate your palatal bone to make your upper jaw larger and fit better to the lower jaw.  A quad-helix can be used in both upper and lower jaws to make more spaces.

Bite plate is used to correct deep bite.   When your lower teeth come up to far and hit hard on the back of your upper teeth causing heavy pressures or swollen gums, then correction of deep bite is needed.

Space maintainer is used to anchor the back teeth and maximize your orthodontic outcome.  A trans-palatal arch is used to anchor a molar.  A Nance holding arch is to hold spaces for the permanent premolars to come in. A lingual holding arch can be used to hold space or it can also be used to lift an impacted tooth. 

Hawley retainer is a removable retainer that has a wire in the front teeth and an acrylic plate on the back of the teeth and the roof of the mouth to hold teeth and maintain the shape of the jaw. An Essix retainer is a shape performance tray that holds teeth in place.  It is clear and durable and helps to maintain the teeth after orthodontic treatment.

Intraoral scanner is a new technology that use lights reflection to capture and synthesize your virtual 3 dimensional images of jaw and bite. These images are saved in the computers for long term storage and rendered treatment to fabricate appliances, aligners and retainers.  Our office embraces this new technology with a Carestream scanner.  The scanner captures data very fast and uses to substitute messy alginate impression.  This technology is a wonder tool for patients who have sensitive gag reflex and cannot tolerate dental materials in the mouth. This technology is also simplify orthodontic treatment and visits.  We are proud to adapt this high tech device into daily usage at Care Orthodontics.

Other orthodontic devices such as headgears, facemasks, mini-implants, bite correctors etc. are recommended based on an individual’s age, pubertal growth stage, maturation phase and orthodontic requirements to correct bite and jaw. 

Dr. Nancy Phan is a Board-certified orthodontist who has treated many children and adults and served the San Jose community are for over a decade.  Visit us for more education materials and office information.


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Care Orthodontics
88 Tully Rd., Ste. 113 San Jose, CA 95111.
Phone: (408) 971-2885
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