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Our A to Z guide of orthodontic terms will hopefully help to explain some of the technical terms and jargon used in the field of orthodontics.

If you have any queries or require any further explanation of any of the terms please do not hesitate to get in toucn – we would be delighted to hear from you!

A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I | J | K | L | M | N | O | P | Q | R | S | T | U | V | W | X | Y | Z



Appliance – Anything that the orthodontist attaches to the teeth to move them or to change the shape of the jaw.

Arch Wire – A nickel-titanium piece of wire that is attached to the brackets to move the teeth.


Band – A metal ring that is usually placed  on to the back molar teeth to hold parts of the brace.

Bracket – A metal or ceramic part that is glued to the tooth and are designed to move the tooth to their ideal position. The arch wire is attached to the brackets.


Debond – This is when the braces are removed at the end of treatment.


Elastics – Little rubber bands that are attached by hooks and are worn between upper and lower braces to help with certain teeth movements.


Fixed Adjust – Once the brace is fitted the orthodontist will adjust the brace every  6-8 weeks, this will leave the teeth feeling tighter for a few days.


Headgear – A brace that is worn at night  to move the back teeth further back in order to either create more space or to stop back teeth moving forward.


Ligature Wire – A very thin piece of wire that may be used to either tie the arch wire on to the bracket or to tie groups of teeth together in a criss cross formation.


Microscrews – Temporary mini implants which may be used in conjunction with your brace to help avoid tooth extraction or the use of head gear.

Modules – These are tiny doughnut shaped rubber rings that are used to hold the archwire in place. They come in lots of fun colours or an option of clear modules are available.


Power Chain – An elastic rubber chain that fits over the archwire and brackets to connect teeth together.


Quadhelix – An appliance that is fitted near the roof of the mouth then attached to the inside of the upper teeth to bands on the upper molars, this is used to gently expand a narrow upper jaw.


Retention Period – As soon as the braces are removed it is essential that  a retainer is used to hold the teeth in the corrected position.

Retainer (removable) – Made from soft clear plastic that fits over the teeth like a gumshield.

Retainer (fixed/bonded) – A thin wire made from high quality stainless steel that is bonded to the back of the teeth and usually lasts between 7-10 years.


Separators – Little elastic rings that are placed between the back teeth to create a space for bands to be fitted a week later.


TPA – A  metal bar that goes across the roof of the mouth that connects to the bands on the upper molar teeth, it is used to keep the molars from moving into the extraction space left behind after an extraction has taken place.


Wax – A soft pliable material that acts as a shield when applied to parts of the brace that may be rubbing on the inside of your cheek or lips causing discomfort.