To help you learn a little more about orthodontics in Lahaina, Lihue, Makawo, Hilo and Kahului, Hawaii, our orthodontists, Dr. Aaron Miyai and Dr. Alexander J. Verga, and our orthodontic team are thrilled to provide an orthodontic glossary just for you. If you have any questions, please remember that you can always call Hawaii Smile Designs at (808) 874-9229 and talk to a member of our orthodontic team. We look forward to hearing from you!

Appliance Anything that attaches to your teeth that aligns your teeth and corrects your bite.

Archwire A wire used in various orthodontic attachments. It is fastened to the crowns of two or more teeth and guides tooth movement in the right direction.

Band (orthodontic) A thin, metal ring that is usually made of stainless steel. It secures the orthodontic appliance to a tooth. The band is shaped to fit the specific shape of your tooth and is cemented into place.

Bracket A piece of your braces that is metal, ceramic, or plastic, depending on the appliance you use. It is a small square that is cemented to the front surfaces of your teeth or attached to a band. The archwire fits into the slot of the bracket.

Ceramic brackets Brackets that are tooth-colored to give your braces a more natural appearance compared to metal braces.

Chain A chain made of elastics to holds the archwire on the brackets.

Coil spring The coil spring is the small object that fits between brackets and over the archwire.

Debanding The act of removing orthodontic bands that have been cemented onto the teeth.

Elastics (rubber bands) The rubber ring that secures the archwire to the bracket. These elastics are typically found in different colors to give your braces more personality.

Fixed retainer A permanent retainer that is glued to the back surfaces of your front teeth. This helps keep your teeth in place after your orthodontic treatment is complete.

Habit appliance An appliance that helps a child quit the habit of sucking their thumb or fingers.

Headgear An appliance that is attached to the braces and wrapped around the back of the head. It helps modify growth patterns, move teeth, and provide anchorage.

Herbst appliance An appliance that helps correct overbite issues. It can be either fixed or removable.

Impressions A mold or imprint of the teeth that is used to design custom-made orthodontic appliances and create treatment plans.

Interceptive treatment Also known as early treatment, interceptive treatment focuses on treating patients who are ages 6 to 10. Receiving early treatment can make future orthodontic treatment quicker, easier, and minimally invasive.

MARA appliance An appliance that helps correct overbites by moving the lower jaw into a more forward position.

Maxillary Relating to the upper jaw. This term can be used to describe the teeth, facial structures, dental restorations, or orthodontic appliances pertaining to the upper jaw.

Mouthguard An oral appliance that protects the braces and teeth while the patient is participating in a sport.

Palatal expander An object used to create a wider space in the upper jaw. It is attached to the upper molars with cemented bands or bonding.

Radiograph Often known as an X-ray, a radiograph is an image taken of the underlying bone and teeth.

Retainer A removable or fixed appliance that is used to maintain the position of the teeth following orthodontic treatment.

Separator (spacer) A small elastic that fits tightly between certain teeth to, causing them to move slightly. This makes it possible to place bands around them later.

Wax A comforting wax that patients should place over their bracket or poking wire that is causing discomfort or irritation.