Occlusion is a term that describes the relationship between the upper and lower teeth in orthodontics.

Open Bite

This is a malocclusion in which the teeth do not make contact with one another. In an anterior open bite, the front teeth do not touch when the back teeth are closed together. The posterior open bite is characterized by the fact that the back teeth do not touch when the front teeth are closed together.


It consists of a tiny, o-shaped rubber band that serves as a ligature and holds the archwire in the bracket slots. A variety of colors are available for O-rings, which are generally changed at each adjustment appointment.


A specialty area of dentistry devoted to the diagnosis, supervision, guidance, and correction of malocclusions. Orthodontics and dentofacial orthopedics are the formal names of the specialty.


Dental and facial specialists who diagnose, prevent, and treat dental and facial irregularities. Orthodontists must complete college requirements, graduate from an accredited dental school, and then complete two years of full-time orthodontic residency training. Only those who have completed this education may call themselves “orthodontists.” Orthodontists limit their scope of practice to orthodontic treatment. AAO membership is restricted to orthodontists.

Orthognathic Surgery

Orthognathic surgery, also known as surgical orthodontics, is a procedure that corrects skeletal issues that affect the ability to bite, chew, and speak. Orthodontic treatment is performed before and after surgery in order to ensure that upper and lower teeth are properly aligned.

Orthopedic Appliance

A removable functional appliance designed to guide the growth of the jaws and face.


The upper front teeth excessively overlap the bottom front teeth when back teeth are closed. Also called a closed bite or deep bite.


Protruding upper front teeth. Sometimes called buck teeth and often referred to as an overbite by many people.