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Do you know your orthodontic terms?

Orthodontic terms can be intimidating and scary. Especially when it sounds like a bunch of gibberish! Here are a few terms you might hear at your initial consultation with Dr. Finkelmeier!

Brackets - Brackets are attachments that hold the wire in place on each tooth. Some people are concerned about the appearance of braces, but here at Finkelmeier Orthodontics, you have the option to choose metal or ceramic brackets for aesthetics. Dr. Finkelmeier selects the correct bracket for each tooth and uses them to help move your teeth during treatment!

Bands - Bands are rings that go around your back teeth to also hold your wires in place. Prior to having bands placed around your teeth, Dr. Finkelmeier or his assistants will place spacers.

Spacers - Spacers are small elastics (rubber bands) that are simply flossed between teeth to make space for a band. While the separator is being placed, the patient may feel slight pressure or a "pushing" sensation - this is due to the pressure needed to allow the rubber band to squeeze through the contact of the teeth. Once in place, a spacer will feel like a a popcorn kernel, but patients quickly adjust in a couple days.

Arch Wires - Arch wires are tied into all the brackets to create forces to move your teeth. Arch wires range in sizes and shapes based on your orthodontic needs. Dr. Finkelmeier will place different arch wires throughout your treatment.

Deep Bite/Overbite - A deep bite/overbite is vertical overlap of your front teeth. Ideally, the smile looks best when upper and lower incisors are visible.

Overjet - Overjet is horizontal overlap of your front teeth. Ideally, the smile and bite is the best when upper and lower incisors are lightly touching when you bite down.

Crossbite - A crossbite is where one or more upper teeth bites on the inside of the lower teeth. Your upper teeth should all be on the outside of lower teeth. Sometimes, a palatal expander is an excellent appliance to create the proper width for your upper arch.

Palatal Expander - Dr. Finkelmeier may recommend an RPE (rapid palatal expander) when the patient has crowding or a crossbite. This appliance places pressure on the upper jaw (maxilla) by turning a tiny screw. The pressure separates the mid-palatal suture to widen the maxilla, which can correct crossbites and create space for proper eruption. The appliance usually takes a couple weeks and Dr. Finkelmeier follows up with you until expansion is complete.

Impacted tooth - A tooth that has not erupted and is not expected to erupt without intervention. Sometimes, an oral surgeon can help us move these teeth into place.

Class I occlusion - Teeth fit together perfectly with proper overbite, overjet, molar position, alignment, and no spaces between teeth.

Class I malocclusion - In class I malocclusion, the molar position is correct, but the patient may have crowding, crossbites, spacing, or rotated teeth.

Class II malocclusion - The upper teeth are positioned forward compared to lower teeth. Usually, this type of patient has too much overjet and orthodontic treatment is aimed to create a Class I occlusion.

Class III malocclusion - The lower teeth are positioned forward compared to upper teeth. Opposite of Class II malocclusion, Class III patients do not have enough overjet and the goal is to create a Class I occlusion through orthodontic treatment.

Rubber bands/Elastics - Rubber bands connect from upper to lower teeth and are very important for bite correction during orthodontic treatment. They are small, comfortable, and usually the easiest way to fix your bite.

Decalcification - This is something we always try to avoid! White spots and lines can form on the teeth if they are not brushed and cleaned properly. Bacteria in the mouth feed from plaque and sugar left on the teeth around the braces. White spots are permanent and there are few good options to treat them once they occur. The best thing to do is prevent them with proper brushing and regular dental cleanings at your dentist throughout your orthodontic treatment!

Debond - The process of taking brackets and wires off, removing excess glue, and polishing your teeth. This is an exciting day at Finkelmeier Orthodontics!

Retainer - After removing braces or finishing Invisalign treatment, Dr. Finkelmeier provides retainers to hold teeth in their new position. These can be clear, multicolored, or even fixed to the back of teeth. Retainers are very important to maintain your new, beautiful smile!

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