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Orthodontic glossary

Make sure you’re on the same page when you’re speaking with us about your orthodontic care.

At the beginning of your treatment, it can feel like there’s a whole world of new words you need to learn. If there’s a term you haven’t heard of before, look it up here to find its definition.

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  • Appliance: Any device used to assist in the movement of your teeth or jaw.
  • Archwire: The wire that connects your braces together - this will need adjusting over the duration of the treatment.
  • Bracket: The fixed piece of your braces that attaches to your tooth, connecting to the archwire.
  • Debanding: The process of detaching the brackets that were fixed to your teeth.
  • Impressions: The process of making a negative mold of your teeth using special dental putty.
  • Invisalign® aligners: Custom-designed clear plastic trays used as an alternative to traditional braces.
  • Ligation: The process of using wires fixed to brackets in order to adjust the location of your teeth without the need for elastic ties.
  • Retainer: A custom-made appliance used to help keep the shape of your newly adjusted teeth - these can be either fixed or removable.


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