Panoramic Radiograph

An x-ray that shows all the teeth and both jaws at once. It is considered a full mouth x-ray.

Palatal Expander

A fixed or removable orthodontic appliance used to make the upper jaw wider. Often used to correct a crossbite or narrow jaw.

Periodontal Disease

A chronic infection of the gums that develops as a result of plaque build-up. Most often, there is little or no pain associated with this infection. It is also known as gum disease. It is possible for gum disease to lead to tooth loss if left untreated. In order to maintain good oral hygiene during orthodontic treatment, patients are advised to brush their teeth after meals/snacks, before going to bed, and to floss at least once a day. Periodontal disease has three stages: gingivitis, periodontitis, and advanced periodontitis.

Periodontal Tissue

Refers to the hard and soft tissue, or supporting structures, around the teeth.


A more serious form of gum (periodontal) disease as compared to gingivitis. It is a chronic infection caused by an accumulation of plaque under the gum line. The bacteria in plaque produce toxins that lead to destruction of the soft tissue and bone that hold teeth in place. Pockets (spaces between the gum and the teeth) form. Unless treated professionally in conjunction with careful home care, the disease process will continue to break down tissues.

Phase One (Phase I) Treatment

Orthodontic treatment performed to intercept or correct a developing problem. Usually performed on younger patients that have a mixture of primary (baby) teeth and permanent teeth. Sometimes called Preventive or Interceptive treatment.


Plaque is a colorless, sticky film which is a mixture of bacteria, food particles and saliva that constantly forms in the mouth. Plaque combines with sugars to form an acid that endangers teeth and gums. Plaque causes cavities, white marks (decalcification) and gum disease. Plaque is removed by brushing and flossing.


Back teeth which are usually your molars and premolars.

Power Chain

A series of elastic ligatures that are stretched across multiple teeth in order to secure the archwire to bracket slots. During specific times during orthodontic treatment, a power chain is used in some patients to apply additional force to move their teeth.

Preventive Treatment

An orthodontic treatment intended to prevent or reduce the severity of malocclusion (bad bite). It is also referred to as an interceptive treatment or Phase I treatment.

Primary Teeth

Your baby teeth which are sometimes referred to as deciduous teeth.