Girl with braces smiling

Dr. Tammy Meister of Meister Orthodontics is proud to have created beautiful smiles for 20 years. She really loves what she does and it shows in her work. At Meister Orthodontics, we believe in educating our patients as much as possible. We want you to be as informed as possible when coming into Dr. Meister’s office. This is why we’ve provided a glossary list of key words that you may hear around the office.


A wire that is crucial in guiding tooth movement in braces. The wire attaches to each bracket on the braces and connects all of the brackets together.

AttachmentsAttachments / Buttons

Attachments are small tooth-colored "bumps" that are bonded to the teeth. They are placed precisely in order to allow the aligners to grip the teeth so that they may be guided into their new locations.

ButtonButtons are small auxiliaries that are used to attach or anchor rubber bands. They can be made of metal or composite material.


A thin metal ring that secures orthodontic attachments to a tooth. It is usually made of stainless steel and has orthodontic attachments welded or soldered to it. It is cemented in place on the tooth.

Bite blocksBite Blocks/Turbos

Bite Blocks/Turbos are tiny devices that are attached to your teeth to keep your upper teeth and lower teeth from coming in contact with each other when you bite down so that you do not pop off your braces. Bite blocks can cause some discomfort, especially at first. Because your upper and lower teeth won’t meet when you bite down, chewing will be a challenge until you adjust to the bite blocks. Softer foods and smaller bites will help.

Black TrianglesBlack Triangles of Space

Otherwise known as open gingival embrasures, these are triangle-shaped gaps between your teeth. The tissue between the teeth is no longer present due to lost gum tissue or tooth decay and the space appears higher up by the gum tissue rather than between the teeth like other gaps such as a diastema. Black triangles are a common dental issue seen in many adults over 20 years of age.


Made from either metal, ceramic, or plastic, this is an attachment that is secured to a tooth to attach to archwire.

Carriere applianceCarriere Appliance

A Carriere Distalizer is an orthodontic device designed to correct the bite. Its effects are similar to those of orthodontic headgear. Its function is to push the teeth back into their correct place. The Carriere appliance can be used with lnvisalign treatment to correct an overbite, once the overbite is corrected it will be removed.

Ceramic Brackets

These are brackets that are used when the patient wants a more aesthetically pleasing set of braces. Ceramic or “clear braces” are made of crystalline, alumina, or tooth-shade/clear synthetic sapphire.

Common Orthodontic Problems

Common Orthodontic Problems


This happens when cemented orthodontic bands are removed.


Elastics are rubber bands used to move teeth one way or the other. They are usually connected from the molar to the upper teeth.


Extractions or tooth removal is routinely used in orthodontics as a method of gaining space for the correction of crowding or proclined teeth (teeth are angled up and the lips can be seen as actively trying to close the mouth).

The extraction of premolar teeth may be recommended for the upper 2 bilateral premolar teeth, or of both the upper and lower bilateral premolar teeth (2 upper and 2 lower).

The extraction of 1 lower anterior (front) tooth may be recommended in 2 major circumstances: (1) severe crowding of the mandibular but not the maxillary incisors, and (2) mild anterior crossbite with good alignment of both arches.


The frenum is a connective tissue membrane that attaches one surface within the mouth to another. A frenectomy is a simple surgical procedure that involves the removal of one or both frena from the mouth. This may be performed by an endodontist or, in some simple cases, via laser.


This is the tissue that surrounds the teeth that is fibrous and continuous with the periodontal ligament and mucosal covering.


This appliance is used for overbite problems but can also be used for other issues. It can be either fixed or removable.


To get a better look at your teeth under your gums, this process acquires better representations of your teeth in either two or three dimensions.

Indirect BondingIndirect Bonding

Indirect Bonding (IDB) is a method of applying orthodontic brackets to the teeth in a manner that an entire set of braces can be applied in less than one hour. Traditionally, braces are place on individual teeth, one at a time.

IPRInterproximal Reduction (IPR)

IPR stands for interproximal reduction. It is the mechanical process of creating very small amounts of space between teeth in order for the teeth to move as needed during treatment.

Laser Treatment

Laser treatment refers to focused source of light energy used for many orthodontic applications such as exposing teeth that are taking too long to erupt, gum contouring, lingual or labial frenectomy (between teeth, tongue-tie or upper gum) or removing tissue tags or excess gum tissue.

Laser Impacted
Laser recontouring


This is the area where the tongue is.


Maxillary is the area of the upper jaw and mandibular refers to the lower jaw. The terms may be used to describe teeth, orthodontic appliances, facial structures, or dental restorations.


A dental specialist who has completed an advanced post-doctoral course that is accredited by the American Dental Association, of at least two academic years in the special area of orthodontics.

Orthognathic Surgery

This is a surgery to alter relationships of teeth and/or supporting bones. This is usually done in conjunction with orthodontic therapy.


An image produced by ionizing radiation. It can sometimes be called an X-ray.


This can be a removable appliance or it can be permanently placed in the mouth. It is used after teeth straightening to maintain the position of the teeth.

Tooth-Size Discrepancy

Tooth-size discrepancy is defined as a lack of harmony between the widths of individual or groups of teeth in relationship to their counterparts of the opposing arch. Any discrepancy will result in either spacing in one arch or a compromise in functional relationships.

Impacted toothUncoveries

Typically performed for impacted tooth exposure, it is the process by which a tooth that is either fully or partially buried beneath the gum line, the tooth or teeth are first uncovered and then moved into the proper positon with an orthodontic bracket and gold chain. The process is often performed by an oral surgeon. In some instances where the gold chain would not be necessary (the tooth is very close to eruption) a laser may be used.

Further Questions

If you have any questions about the terms in our glossary, please don’t hesitate to reach out and ask. We love educating our patients on orthodontics and what goes into the process. If you are in the St. Paul, MN area, request an appointment to see what we can do for you!