At Righellis Orthodontics, we believe that well-informed and educated patients are happier patients.

To help expand upon your knowledge, we’ve put together some definitions associated with orthodontic treatment and procedures.


An evaluation of your progress when your wires are changed, to keep your treatment on track and moving forward.


Anything your doctor places on your teeth. This can include braces, headgear, retainers, palatal expanders, and more.


The wire that covers both dental arches and is held in place by brackets and bands. The archwire is responsible for guiding your teeth as they gradually move.


A small metal ring, typically crafted from stainless steel, which fits around the contours of a tooth. Bands allow your orthodontist to attach brackets to the teeth.


This process involves fitting and bonding bands to the teeth.


The process of cementing brackets to the teeth using high-quality orthodontic bonding material.


The element of braces that holds the archwire to each tooth. Brackets can be crafted from stainless steel or ceramic and are bonded directly to the teeth surfaces.


The habitual grinding or clenching of the teeth, either acutely or chronically. Bruxism most often occurs during sleep.

Cephalometric X-ray

An X-ray of your head, outlining the growth, development, and positions of the joints, teeth, and jaws.


Removing bonded bands from your teeth, this process is typically performed once treatment is complete.


Generally performed at the end of treatment, debonding involves the removal of bonded brackets from the teeth.

Elastics (Rubber Bands)

Sometimes additional pressure is necessary to move the teeth into their new desired positions. Small rubber bands can be used for this purpose and are available in many different colors.

Elastic Tie

Sometimes call O-rings, these tiny rubber bands are placed around the brackets to help hold the archwire in place.

Fixed Retainer

A non-removable retainer that is bonded to the tongue side of the front teeth to keep them from moving into their old positions.


Generic term for an extraoral appliance. Orthodontic headgear can guide the growth of the jaws and orofacial bones via your teeth. Pressure is applied with a head or neck strap.

Headgear Tube

These cylindrical components are bonded to the back teeth to provide anchors for your headgear appliance.

Impacted Tooth

The total or partial lack of eruption of a tooth well after the normal age for eruption.


Molds of your teeth ­– taken either traditionally or digitally – that will assist your doctor in designing a personalized treatment plan.


A popular metal-free alternative to braces, Invisalign straightens the teeth using a sequence of clear, thermoplastic aligner trays.


The process of placing the archwire and connecting it to your brackets.


In addition to elastic ties, thin wire is used to secure your archwire to the brackets. This is referred to as a ligature wire.


A deviation from normal when the teeth are biting together.

Mouthguard (Athletic)

A device that protects your mouth and braces from injury, to be used when playing sports.

Open Bite

A malocclusion in which the upper front teeth do not contact the lower front teeth. This condition can place excessive pressure on the back teeth.


Vertical overlap of the upper front teeth over the lower front teeth – some overlap is normal. When the overlap is too much, it is known as a “deep bite”.


Horizontal protrusion of the upper front teeth in the front of the lower front teeth.

Palatal Expander

A device that fits in the roof of your mouth and widens your upper jaw. A palatal expander is connected to the upper back teeth with bands or high-quality cement.

Panoramic X-ray

A type of x-ray commonly used by orthodontists. A panoramic x-ray machine rotates around your head and obtains images of the teeth, jaws, and surrounding orofacial structures.


An appliance that is worn after your braces are removed to keep your teeth from shifting back to their original positions. Retainers can either be removable or bonded to the inside of the teeth. At Righellis Orthodontics, we often use an appliance called a C.O.R. (clear overlay retainer).


A type of malocclusion that is present when the lower front teeth are positioned in front of the upper front teeth.


A take-home substance you can use to keep your braces from irritating your lips, inner cheeks or gums.

Contact Us Today

To learn more, reach out to a team member at Righellis Orthodontics in Oakland, CA. You can call our office at 510-482-0600 or contact us online anytime.

Dr. Righellis & Dr. Ikeda
Meet Dr Righellis & Dr Ikeda
Dr. Righellis is an awesome orthodontist! He did my braces about 20 years ago and now he is taking care of my daughter. My daughter has a difficult case and I would not trust any other orthodontist to treat her. His staff is professional, friendly, and helpful.Elena M.

Righellis & Associates

Orthodontics for Children and Adults

2220 Mountain Blvd.
Suite 204
Oakland, CA 94611

Office Hours

Monday - Thursday: 7:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.
Friday: On a limited basis – please call for availability