Orthodontic Terminology Explained

clinical assistant holding orthodontic retainers

We understand that the general public may not understand orthodontic terminology. So, we’ve explained our most used orthodontic terms for you!


In certain orthodontic cases, dental extractions are necessary. The purpose is to reduce crowded teeth and establish a stable bite. These extractions happen before or during orthodontic treatment. Not all cases will require extractions – in fact, it is usually NOT necessary.


Orthodontic elastics, or rubber bands, are small stretchy loops of latex. They help move teeth into proper alignment during orthodontic treatment. Not wearing your elastics, makes your treatment last longer than necessary.


Also known as an elastic tie, a cheerio is a tiny rubber band that fits around your bracket. This holds the archwire in place. They come in clear or a variety of fun colors.


This appointment is necessary for taking your braces off or removing attachments. We also deliver retainers and take final records (photos and x-ray).


An orthodontic aligner is a clear plastic tray that sits over your teeth. We use aligners for tooth and bite movement in clear aligner treatments. Aligners are custom-made plastic trays made with a 3D scanner to fit your teeth. Additionally, each aligner moves the teeth step by step towards the final position.


These are little, tooth-colored dots made of composite filling material. We bond attachments to teeth to help the aligners move the teeth. We also polish off attachments at the end of your treatment.

iTero Intraoral Scanner

This is a touch-enabled 3D scanner that gives a more accurate view of your mouth, gums, teeth, and all other oral structures. The best part about using this device is that it makes it easier to create digital impressions. Digital impressions create aligners, appliances, and retainers for orthodontic procedures.


This is the most important phase of orthodontic treatment! Retainers must be worn to keep teeth in the corrected positions after treatment with orthodontic braces or aligners. Without retention, there is always a tendency for teeth to return to their initial position (relapse).


A clear plastic tray is like an aligner in looks but is made of a completely different material. First of all, this tray keeps your teeth from moving after they’ve been straightened with braces. Secondly, we design retainers using the 3D scanner for a perfect custom fit. Our goal is to maintain your beautiful smile!

We hope this orthodontic terminology explained benefits the understanding of your treatment! Of course, if you ever have any concerns about your treatment, please don’t hesitate to ask. Our Katy, Texas team is happy to answer any questions you have.

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Thank you, Abby! We pride ourselves on being a conservative practice. We appreciate the time you took to share this review. 🙂 ...

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Then that one tooth is out of place… 😭🫣 Retainer wear is a vital part of the orthodontic treatment!! 💯

For questions about retainers, please message us or call us at (281) 392-0888. 💙

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It’s hard to keep up with everyone’s schedules sometimes - right?! Type an YES in the comments if you agree. 🤪

That’s why we send text and email reminders for your appointments. 📅 As soon as your appointment is scheduled, you’ll receive a text with the date and time on it. You’ll then receive messages leading up to the appt, reminding you when to come in!

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📍Katy ClearChoice Orthodontics is located at 1260 Pin Oak Rd. #208 Katy, TX 77494.

We are just across from the CiCi’s and post office, in the Pin Oak Atrium. The black glass building!

If coming from i10, you’ll see our building just after 7-Eleven on Pin Oak Rd.

We can’t wait to see you! 😁

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You Smile! We Smile! We ALL SMILE 😃 ...

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Did you know you can use your FSA for orthodontic treatment? 🗲 In most cases, orthodontic treatment payments are eligible to draft from both a Flexible Spending Account (FSA) & Health Savings Account (HSA).

In our most recent blog, (🔗kccortho.com/can-i-use-fsa-for-orthodontics) we answer common questions about how to use your FSA or HSA to pay for orthodontic treatment!

To schedule a consultation appointment, please fill out our consultation request form! We look forward to meeting you! 🔗kccortho.com

💎 If you are a current patient and you would like to use your FSA or HSA card, please call us at 281-392-0888. Save money & Keep Smiling, KCC family!

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“For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.” ‭‭Jeremiah‬ ‭29‬:‭11‬ 🌿✨

If you’ve been feeling like this season is chaotic or heavy, find peace in the assurance of a brighter future. Better days are coming! 😀💙

Have a blessed Wednesday, KCC fam!

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✨💜 Would you mind sharing an encouraging word in the comments for Jeysse as we celebrate her today?

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Our title may be orthodontics, but we’re here for more than that! We love getting to impact lives every day. 😄 We care about you!

& that starts with take time and attention to building a team that listens and leads well. Sara has been leading our clinical team, alongside Dr. Gutierrez, for over 12 years. We are thankful for her knowledge and expertise!

Have you met Sara?

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