Abrasion is the loss of tooth substance due to friction caused by hard food components.


Acceledent is a product designed to accelerate orthodontic treatment. It is an electrically operated device for intraoral use which transfers the instrument’s vibrations directly onto the recipient’s teeth. Acceledent has been introduced to orthodontics with great marketing effort. However, several high quality scientific studies have not indicated any particular benefit deriving from Acceledent, so orthodontic […]


The Activator was the first “functional orthodontic” brace that has been internationally recognized. Before that there was already the “jumping-the-bite appliance” of Kingsley (1879) and the monobloc of Robin (1902), but without much influence. It was originally introduced in 1935 by Viggo Andresen. The Activator is a removable appliance that encloses both teeth quadrants simultaneously […]

Active Plate

The active plate is a removable brace for just one jaw. It was first devised by Charles Nord in 1929 and was later improved by A.M.Schwarz and recommended for multiple treatment options. It consists of a plastic body, wire fasteners and active components such as springs and screws. Active plates, like all other removable appliances, […]

Active Plate (Single Brace)

An obsolete orthodontic appliance: First introduced by Charles Nord in 1929 and later improved by A.M. Schwarz, this is a removable brace for just one jaw. It consists of a plastic body, wire fasteners and active components such as springs and screws. With active plates, as with removable appliances, only very simple tooth movements are […]


Agenesis is the congenital absence of an organ or organ part. This term refers to the failure of a tooth or several teeth to develop during embryonic growth and development due to the absence of primordial tissue. The German word for this finding is „Nichtanlage“.The most commonly congenitally absent teeth are the upper lateral incisors, […]


Ever since the Positioner first appeared in 1944, it has been possible to provide orthodontic treatment by using plastic, removable braces. Since then, both the Positioner, that resembles a sports mouth-protector, and the thinner, transparent Aligner have been continuously improved. The very first feasible treatment procedure using a thin, transparent aligner was described by Sheridan […]

Alveolar process

The alveolar process is the part of the jaw that surrounds the tooth roots. When the teeth are lost, the alveolar processes recede and only the jawbone bases remain.

Alveolar socket

The alveolar socket is the bony compartment of the tooth root.

Angle Classification

The Angle Classification was conceived by E. H. Angle, the founding father of orthodontics, for classifying orthodontic deviations after the first molars have appeared: Angle-Class I refers to a neutral occlusion (normal bite), Angle-Class II refers to a distal occlusion (back-bite) and Angle-Class III refers to a mesial occlusion in the lower molars (forward bite). […]


The term angulation refers to the angular position of the dental crown or root, mostly in a mesiodistal direction.


This refers to the growing together of the tooth root with the jaw bone. If this occurs during the growth phase, it results in the affected tooth not being able to keep up with the jaw growth and then seeming to slowly disappear into the jaw itself (infra-occlusion). Sometimes, children’s milk-teeth are affected, when there’s […]


A tooth is called antagonist which is opposite to another tooth and makes contact.


In dentistry, the root tip is called apex.


Apical is a directional term for: in the direction of the root tip.


Aplasia is the congenital absence of an organ or organ part. In dentistry, this term refers to the natural non-development of teeth. See agenesis


Abbreviation for Air Rotor Stripping. In American English a common name for interproximal enamel reduction with a high-speed angled handpiece.


Arthritis refers to the inflammation of joints which is usually associated with pain and functional impairments.


Arthroscopy is the examination of a joint with a slim optic device directly introduced under anesthesia. The arthroscopy of the temporomandibular joint is an occasionally useful examination technique with reasonable risks. During arthroscopy the temporomandibular joint can be irrigated at the same time and any particles from the discus can be removed (lavage and lysis).


Arthrosis is a degenerative joint disease characterized by the disappearance of cartilage covering the healthy joint surfaces. In most cases, arthritis (joint inflammation) which leads to the breakdown of the cartilage is a precursor of arthrosis. In older people, a certain arthrotic remodeling of the temporomandibular joint is relatively normal and it can be interpreted […]


The articulator is a hinged rack for assembling jaw models and simulating jaw function. It’s necessary for making dental prostheses in the orthodontic laboratory. At the height of Gnathology, this was regarded as essential for functional diagnosis but this device is usually superfluous for this process. Moreover, it’s particularly superfluous and involves additional costs when […]


In German the abbreviation ASR is used for interproximal enamel reduction, see there.


1. In dentistry an attachment refers to the tooth being connected through gingival and periodontal fibres to the surrounding gum and jawbone. 2. Attachment refers to small plastic buttons on the teeth used in orthodontic aligner therapy, which enable the aligners to have a better grip on the teeth.


Attrition is the loss of tooth substance due to tooth-to-tooth friction, e.g. with teeth grinding or pressing.


In orthodontic terms, this is a thin metal ring that is cemented onto the teeth so that orthodontic wires or appliances such as a transpalatal arch, lower lingual arch or a headgear can be attached. Before bands were prefabricated in different sizes for each tooth, they were actually soldered together from thin sheet metal that […]

Bass Technique

A dental brushing technique performed with small vibrating movements, with the head of the toothbrush always positioned halfway on the tooth and on the gum.


The Bass Appliance is a combined activator and headgear conceived by Neville Bass. It is a very effective appliance that can be used for the successful treatment of back-bite in the lower jaw even if it is only worn at night. Similar appliances are the Teuscher-Activator, the Hansa-Appliance and the Van Beek Activator. At the […]


The Begg-Technique is a fixed appliance that was first conceived in Australia in 1960 by P.R. Begg. It was popular for a while but has now almost completely disappeared – quite rightly so, one would almost like to say, because this technique involved a lot of extra wire elements and mechanical disadvantages. But the spirit […]


The standard of assessment of dental services (BEMA 2004) is the basis for the billing of dental services within the statutory health insurance in Germany. Or in other words: the BEMA is the scale of fees for dentists working for the statutory health insurance in Germany.


Concerning both jaws, e.g. bimaxillary dysgnathic surgery


The Bio Bite Corrector (abbreviated to BBC) is one of the countless modifications of the Herbst-Appliance which looks quite similar with its telescopic mechanism. Unlike the classic Herbst-Appliance, the Bio Bite Corrector is attached directly to the fixed appliance so that protruding of the lower jaw and forming the dental arches can be managed in […]

Bionator – an overestimated appliance

William Balter’s Bionator was developed in the 1950s and was first introduced in 1964. It is actually nothing more than a smaller version of an Activator, i.e. a removable brace that encompasses both the upper and lower jaw (double brace) and is intended to ‘jump the bite’. It has exactly the same effect as the […]

Bioprogressive Therapy

A treatment concept widely spread by Ricketts around 1970 which is based on using fixed appliances in mixed dentition. The Bioprogressive Therapy is currently becoming obsolete and its last supporters have almost vanished, but it still seems to have some followers in France.

Bite former according to Bimler

The Bimler appliance is a brace for adjusting the bite particularly in cases of retrusion of the lower jaw. It was first introduced by H.P. Bimler in 1949. The Bimler appliance is a kind of skeletonized Activator that has a lot of wire elements along with all the disadvantages of a removable brace (bad acceptance […]

Bite Plate

The bite plate is a removable brace that consists of a small, plastic body and some wire components. It is clipped behind the upper incisors to improve a deep bite in the lower incisors or to raise the bite in the posterior teeth. When it is actually worn, it works very well. However, like almost […]

Bite relation

The position of upper and lower jaw in relationship to each other, usually described as the position of the lower jaw: prognathism, neutral bite/eugnathia and retrognathism of the lower jaw (mandible).

Bite Splint

This is a removable plastic cover/splint usually used for the upper teeth and it separates the rows of teeth when biting. Occlusal splints are normally worn at night to prevent the patient from grinding their teeth. They are usually employed where there is pain in either the jaw joint or the chewing muscles which is […]

Bolton Discrepancy

Described by W. Bolton in 1958, this term refers to the differences in size that often occur between the teeth of the upper and lower jaw. Above a certain degree of Bolton-Discrepancy it is no longer possible to position the teeth in a normal bite. In such cases it is generally a choice between either […]


This is the normal layman’s term for an orthodontic appliance or retainer. There are both fixed and removable braces, although the removable type are now mainly outdated.


A bracket is a small lock that can be fixed onto the teeth and is used to transfer forces and torques of orthodontic wires to the teeth. Brackets are the universal working tool in fixed orthodontics. Bonded brackets have been used in orthodontics since 1970 and have since largely replaced the previously used cemented bands. […]


In dentistry, bruxism refers to all non-functional tooth contacts such as grinding and pressing. There’s a difference between awake and sleep bruxism, both of which have different causes. In the long run, bruxism leads to attrition of tooth substance which can be detected by typical, usually high-gloss grinding facets. Occasional bruxism is normal and not […]


Cheek-related; in the direction of the cheeks

Carrière Distalizer

The Carrière Distalizer is a fixed appliance which is attached to the upper molars and canines. It consists of an adhesive base for each of the teeth mentioned and a stiff frame that is fixed to the canine and connected to the first molar by a joint. By transmitting power through the joint, the upper […]

Case refinement

Case refinement is the production of a second or any number of additional series of aligners after the aim of treatment with the previous series has not been fully achieved. At Align Technology, the manufacturer of Invisalign®, at least one is included in the lower treatment levels, whereas in the higher levels unlimited case refinements […]


This is the abbreviation for a Cephalogram which is a side-view X-ray of the skull. Unfortunately, this is usually described as a ‘lateral tele-radiograph’ in German (FRS), which is not really understood on the international front. [See lateral tele-radiograph’ (FRS)]. The Ceph was hugely important in studying the growth of the face and the skull […]


Measuring the skull, jaws and teeth with a Ceph, a lateral skull X-ray or p.a. skull X-ray.  [See critical comment concerning the lateral tele-radiograph’ (FRS)].

Ceramic brackets

Brackets made of crystalline material which are either opaque tooth-colored or transparent. Ceramic brackets are more aesthetic than steel brackets, but due to the brittleness of the ceramic and the associated risk of breakage mechanically poorer.

Cervical Headgear

An outer arch anchored to the upper molars which puts pressure on the upper set of teeth while being anchored to a neck strap. The cervical headgear is, in principle, an effective appliance, but it is unpopular with young patients and they often do not wear it for as long as they should.

Chin Augmentation

This term describes a surgical procedure for the bony chin whereby the chin is lengthened, shortened, raised or lowered. Even sideways movement of the chin is possible. There are no particular risks associated with chin augmentation such as damage to the nerves or joints, but the healing process can have an impairing effect. This technique […]

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