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Glossary of Orthodontic Terms

A fixed or removable appliance used to open a deep bite (decrease the vertical overlap of the upper and lower incisors).

A device used in orthodontics to align teeth and their position with regard to a person's bite. They are often used to correct malocclusions such as underbites, overbites, cross bite and open bites, deep bites, or crooked teeth and various other flaws of teeth and jaws, whether cosmetic or structural.

Elastics or rubber bands for braces help move the upper and lower teeth relative to each other, ultimately achieving a better bite. The orthodontic rubber bands are typically effective for correcting overbites, underbites, or other types of alignments of the jaw. They are also useful for moving a tooth out of alignment or to close a space in the mouth.

A palatal expander, also known as a rapid palatal expander, rapid maxillary expansion appliance, palate expander or orthodontic expander, is used to widen the upper jaw so that the bottom and upper teeth will fit together better.

The forus is a fixed appliance that is used for dental asymmetry corrections when a higher force is needed. This appliances allows the patient to open and move the jaw freely.

Hawley retainer includes a metal wire that surrounds the teeth and keeps them in place. Named for its inventor, Dr. Charles Hawley, the labial wire, or Hawley bow, incorporates 2 omega loops for adjustment. It is anchored in an acrylic arch that sits in the palate (roof of the mouth).

Invisalign is a series of clear, removable teeth aligners that both orthodontists and dentists use as an alternative to traditional metal dental braces.

A functional appliance used to expand the upper dental arch by stimulating growth of the bone in width. Once widened, the suture knits together. The Schwarz appliance is only prescribed prior to completion of growth. It is adjusted daily as instructed until the palate has been widened enough. It is then left in place for about four months without further adjustment while the bone fills the center palatal suture or healing occurs.

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