what is orthodontics?

Orthodontics is the dental specialty that includes the diagnosis, prevention, and correction of dental irregularities. Orthodontic treatment is vital to the achievement of good dental and oral health. It’s ultimate benefits provide you with a radiant, beautiful smile; leading to improved self-esteem and self-confidence.

Today our patients have numerous options to obtain a healthy bite and a beautiful smile. We utilize the latest technologies and treatments ( Invisalign, Propel, and AcceleDent Aura) as well as offering tried and true options ( Braces, Palatal Expanders, and Headgear).

why should children have an orthodontic evaluation at age 7?

According to the American Association of Orthodontists, the best age for children to be seen by an orthodontist for the first time is 7. Not every orthodontic problem can be treated at age 7. However, most problems can be identified by that age.

Dr. Ries can spot subtle problems with jaw growth and emerging teeth that are not part of your child’s regular dental check ups. In some cases, she can achieve results that may not be possible once the face and jaws have finished growing.

Through a complimentary early orthodontic evaluation, you’ll be giving your child their best opportunity for a healthy, beautiful smile.

why is it important to select an orthodontist instead of a general dentist?

An Orthodontist usually takes 10- 12 years of formal university education which includes 2-3 years of additional training after dental school. She is an expert in tooth movement and jaw alignment.

Dr. Ries continues to value education and attends many hours of additional study on new and emerging treatment technologies.

how long is the treatment time?

The patient’s diligent use of any prescribed elastics and other appliances is an important factor in achieving the most efficient treatment. Treatment time typically ranges from 12-20 months, depending on the growth of the patient’s teeth and facial structures.

Dr. Ries offers her patients multiple accelerated options to reduce their treatment time by as much as 50%.

what are orthodontic appliances made of?

Orthodontic appliances can be made of metal, ceramic, or plastic. They may be removable or they may be bonded to the teeth. Whether you use braces or Invisalign the teeth will move to a corrected position by placing a constant, gentle force in a carefully controlled direction.

how do your brush your teeth with braces?

In order to keep your teeth and gums healthy, it’s important to brush and floss after every meal. This is especially true when you have braces.

If you need advice on how to select the right toothbrush, toothpaste, and dental floss, please ask us at Ries Orthodontics and we can help you choose the right products for your teeth and appliance.

orthodontic dictionary

Common terms and the meaning of each


An item Ries Orthodontics attaches to teeth to move them or modify the shape of your jaw.


The metal wire that acts as a track to guide your teeth as they move. It is changed periodically throughout treatment as your teeth move to new positions.


A custom fit metal ring that goes completely around the tooth and is cemented into place. They are used to anchor an appliance to the teeth or secure an archwire to the molars.


The seal created by orthodontic cement that holds your appliances in place.


A metal or ceramic part cemented/bonded to your tooth that holds your archwire in place.

coil spring

A spring that fits between your brackets and over your archwire to open space between your teeth.


A small rubber band that is hooked between different points on your appliances to provide pressure to move your teeth to a new position.

elastic tie

The tiny rubber band that fits around your bracket to hold the archwire in place. They come in a variety of colors.


Headgear uses an external wire apparatus known as a facebow to guide the growth of your face and jaw gently by moving your teeth into proper position. The force is applied to the facebow by a spring-loaded neck strap or head strap. The straps have a safety release that disconnects if the facebow is pulled or snagged.

headgear tube

A round, hollow attachment on your molar bands that the inner bow of your headgear fits into.


A welded or removable arm to which elastics are attached.


A thin wire that holds your archwire into your bracket.

lip bumper

A lip bumper is an archwire attached to a molded piece of plastic. It holds back the molars on your lower jaw to provide more space for your other teeth.


A device that protects your mouth from injury when you participate in sports or rigorous activities.

Patients in orthodontic appliances should avoid using mouthguards that are boiled or formed fitted. Orthodontic mouthguards allow for proper tooth movement.

palatal expander

A device that corrects narrow palates and/or crossbites.


An appliance that is worn after your braces are removed, the retainer attaches to your upper and/or lower teeth to hold them in place. Some retainers are removable, while others are bonded to teeth.

separator or spacer

A small rubber ring that creates space between your teeth before the bands are attached.

tie wire

A fine wire that is twisted around your bracket to hold the archwire in place.


Wax is used to stop your braces from irritating your lips and cheeks

orthodontic procedures

A common list of procedures used at Ries Orthodontics


The process of fitting and cementing orthodontic bands to your teeth.


The process of attaching brackets to your teeth using special orthodontic cement.

cephalometric x-ray

A profile X-ray of your head that shows the relative positions and growth of the face, jaws, and teeth.


A meeting with Dr. Ries to review diagnostic records and discuss a treatment plan.


The process of removing cemented orthodontic bands from your teeth.


The process of removing cemented orthodontic brackets from your teeth.

digital impression or scan

A model of your teeth and gums is made by scanning your teeth with a specialized digital camera. Dr. Ries will use this virtual model of your teeth to prepare your treatment plan and appliances.


A model of your mouth made by taking a mold of your teeth with a soft putty-like material. Dr. Ries will use these impressions to prepare certain orthodontic appliances.


An alternative to traditional braces, Invisalign straightens your teeth with a series of clear, custom-molded, removable aligners.


The process of attaching an archwire to the brackets on your teeth.

panoramic x-ray

An X-ray that rotates around your head to take pictures of your teeth, jaw, and other facial areas.

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