New To Braces? Make Sure You Understand These Terms

Have you decided to visit a dentist to have your teeth straightened out with braces? If so, it helps to know all of the terms that they will be throwing at you during your initial appointments. This will help you better understand the process and how your dentist will straighten your teeth.


The bracket is what will be attached to each tooth, which allows them to be shifted into the proper position. They can be made out of ceramic or metal material, depending on your personal preference for how they will look on your teeth.

Bonding Material

Those brackets will be attached to the teeth using bonding material. It essentially glues the bracket to your teeth so that it cannot fall off, and can be removed later on in a process called debonding.

Arch Wire

The archwire is the metal wire that is attached to every bracket and helps move each tooth into the proper position.


Your dentist will apply elastics to the brackets, which help push the teeth in the proper direction by applying gentle pressure to them. These elastics can become damaged over time, so it is important to replace them if that were to happen.


Braces will be anchored to a tooth in your mouth, which is often the rear molar. A band is placed around this tooth for the braces to attach to.


Over the course of the treatment, your dentist will analyze how the alignment of your teeth is affecting your bite. This is how the teeth come together when they are closed, with the goal for your bite to feel natural and make it easy to chew foods.


You'll be given a removable retainer to wear after the treatment is finished. A retainer helps prevent teeth from shifting afterward. Some people only wear a retainer at night when continuous wear will be uninterrupted.


A mouthguard is worn over your braces and is designed to protect the braces and the soft tissues of your mouth. You may need a mouthguard if you participate in physical activities, such as sports, where there is a risk of impact to your teeth.

These are just a few of the terms that your dentist will use when describing the process of getting, wearing, and removing braces. If you're confused by anything the dentist says, don't be afraid to ask questions during your consultation.

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