Orthodontics Jargon Buster

Sometimes you might find that your orthodontist is speaking in tongues…We’ve come up with a jargon buster to help you understand some of the orthodontic terms that might otherwise make your brain implode! 


Appliance – Anything that your orthodontist attaches to move or change your teeth is an appliance.


Archwire – This is the wire that your orthodontist attaches to your brace, guiding your teeth – braces are no use without this as it is responsible for the movement of your teeth.


Band – Bands are used to fix the archwire onto an appliance, a brace for example. The archwire is slotted into a cheekside sleeve, specifically allowing movement for the molars.


Brackets – Small ceramic or metal components attached to each tooth. They function as guides, moving your teeth and holding the archwire in place.


Cephalmoteric X-rays – An X-ray of your head to check if your teeth are growing properly and normally aligned.


Debonding – The method used to remove fixed orthodontic brackets


Fixed Retainer – A fixed is retainer applied to your teeth by your orthodontist and removed only by your orthodontist. These retainers are glued or bonded onto the inside of the front teeth. 


Forsus – This is a type of appliance characterised by a spring device which is attached to a patient’s upper molar. This is a fixed appliance that only an orthodontist can remove. It is used to re-align a patient’s jaw, for example cases where someone has an overbite.


Herbst Appliance – The Herbst Appliance can be used in conjuction with braces or without. It is used to treat overbites. It is attached onto the back molars on the lower and upper jaws and held into place with bands.


Impressions – The first stage to creating a model of your teeth. Your orthondontist will ask you to bite down into a container filled with material – this material will then harden into a model of your teeth.


Invisalign –Custom made transparent device used to straighten teeth – an alternative to a brace. 


Mouth guard – Commonly used by sportspeople, a mouthguard is designed to protect your teeth from injury. This type of device is created by first asking the patient to make an impression.


Palatal Expander – A device designed to widen the upper jaw or palate.


Removable retainer – After a patient has finished their brace-wearing course, an orthodontist will supply them with a retainer to hold the teeth in the correct position in order to let the bones around the teeth adjust.


Seperators – Tiny metal or plastic parts used to make space between each individual tooth in order for bands to be fitted subsequently.