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Wiregrass Orthodontics

Dr. Howell and his team at Wiregrass Orthodontics are proud to be a leading southeastern Alabama orthodontic practice with three locations in Dothan, Enterprise and Ozark. We offer patients of all ages high quality, personalized orthodontic care to ensure each patient receives the best result-a beautiful and healthy smile that can last a lifetime!

During your treatment, we want you to feel comfortable and informed, so we’ll explain everything in office, but for those times when you need a reminder, Dr. Howell has explained some of the most common orthodontic terms below.

Orthodontic Glossary


An archwire is a wire used with conventional bonded braces that is affixed to the crowns of two or more teeth. The purpose of an archwire is to cause and guide tooth movement.


An orthodontic band is a thin ring of metal (usually made of stainless steel) that secures orthodontic attachments to a tooth.


An orthodontic bracket is an attachment that is secured to a tooth for the purpose of engaging an archwire. A bracket can be made of stainless steel, ceramic or plastic material.

Ceramic Brackets

Ceramic brackets are attachments made of a ceramic material that are secured to teeth by bonding or banding. These brackets are clear or tooth-shaded to make them more aesthetically pleasing than traditional metal brackets.


Crowding is a condition in which there is insufficient space for the teeth.


Debanding is the procedure used to remove cemented orthodontic bands.


Elastics or rubber bands are designed to help move teeth into the desired positions. These tiny rubber bands are typically connected to molar bands and upper ball hooks. They are available in several colors, allowing patients to personalize their treatment.


Gingiva is the tissue surrounding the teeth which consists of fibrous tissue. Gingiva is continuous with the periodontal ligament and mucosal covering.

Herbst Appliance

The Herbst appliance is a fixed or removable orthodontic device used to treat overbite issues and more.


Imaging is the process of capturing representations of structures in the mouth in 2D or 3D.


Lingual is a term used to describe surfaces and directions toward the tongue. For instance, lingual braces are placed on the backside or “tongue side” of the teeth.


Of or pertaining to the upper jaw. This term may be used to describe teeth, dental restorations, orthodontic appliances or facial structures.


An orthodontist is a dental specialist who has been educated in the field of orthodontics.

Orthognathic Surgery

Orthognathic surgery is done to change relationships of teeth and/or supporting bone. This surgery is typically done at the same time orthodontic treatment is being carried out.


An overbite is a condition in which the upper teeth overlap the lower teeth.


A radiograph is an image captured digitally and which is produced by ionizing radiation.

A radiograph or X-ray as it is also called, is commonly used by orthodontists to diagnose and treat orthodontic problems.


A retainer is a fixed or removable orthodontic appliance used to hold teeth in the new positions following orthodontic treatment.


Once a patient is done with the active phase of orthodontic treatment, he/she enters the retention phase which is when retaining appliances may be used to hold teeth in their new positions.

Straight Wire Appliance

A straight wire appliance is a variation of the edgewise appliance in which brackets are angulated to minimize multiple archwire bends. Brackets and molar tubes have specific orientation in three planes of space.

Contact Our Dothan, Enterprise or Ozark Office

The team at Wiregrass Orthodontics is always available to help you! Please don't hesitate to contact us at any of our three office locations if you have questions about orthodontic treatment, our practice or any concerns. Our convenient locations allow us to see patients from Eufala, Blakely and more. We are always accepting new patients so please call us at 334-792-1000 to schedule a free, new patient consultation if you are interested in improving your smile with orthodontic treatment.