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Visiting the Orthodontist can be quite confusing when so many big and unfamiliar words are being thrown around and you’re just not quite sure what they all exactly mean.

Sydney’s leading orthodontist Dr Vandana Katyal at Clean Clear & Correct Smiles have created this quick and easy glossary of terms that you might hear at your visit if you’re looking at getting braces. This will help you have a better understanding of what is actually going on in your mouth and also help you to better communicate any concerns you may have with us.

3-D Orthodontic Scan

This is now the new and most accurate standard for taking moulds of the mouth. At CCC Smiles we use the latest scanner for creating a 3-D models of your teeth and bite. No radiation is involved so its safe to use for all ages. The 3-D virtual model is always stored digitally and can then be 3-D printed anywhere in the world. Its faster, more comfortable and more accurate than traditional rubber/jelly mould of the mouth. Bonus! No gagging, no choking and definitely loved by all our patients! At your first appointment with CCC Smiles, we will take a scan of your teeth to show you the existing concerns and simulate a quick plan to show you the proposed plan & treatment.



These happen at your check up appointments. An adjustment is a change that can be made to your wire or just a simple check to make sure that your teeth are moving as per Dr Katyal’s customised treatment plan for you.

Arch wire

This is the wire that connects all of your teeth together by running inside all of the brackets. There are many different arch wire materials that an orthodontist might use. With the huge advances in modern technology, these arch wires can now be custom made in a sequential set for each individual patient. Customised arch wires using technologies such as Insignia or SureSmile can help get you treatment results that are superior and faster than a wire simply used from a stock standard shape. Dr Katyal at CCC Smiles is an expert at using customised arch wires with your braces.


This is a metal ring that is usually placed over and around your back tooth (molar). We often use this if placing upper jaw expanders or space maintainers. Bands have a tube where the archwire is inserted, and a hook for attachment of ligatures or elastics. Bands are often glued on your teeth with a softer biocompatible cement that makes it easy to remove at the end of your treatment. At CCC Smiles we use 3D scans and your bands are custom fabricated to fit each individual tooth. This saves you several appointments and also provides the best fit!


This is the process of attachment of a material (such as a bracket) to the surface of a tooth. This is usually a resin-based adhesive that sets with a special light (just like a shellac nail polish!)


These are orthodontic devices when used together (bracket, arch wires and ligatures) to straighten teeth. Braces can sometimes be applied to just upper or lower arch but often it is done together. Braces straighten teeth by applying small but gradual force on a tooth in a specific controlled direction.


A bracket is the metal or ceramic piece that is attached to your tooth. Brackets are shaped specifically for every individual tooth, and can now even be custom made to perfectly fit an individuals teeth. Dr Katyal at CCC Smiles is an expert at all type of metal brackets and clear brackets. Using latest 3-D Insignia and Damon bracket technology, each bracket is created for your tooth according to the desired tooth movement plan. Such customised brackets used at CCC Smiles are more comfortable and faster than traditional brackets.

Buccal Tube

A bracket that looks like a horizontal tube and fixed to the cheek-facing surfaces of your molars. These often come with a hook to place rubber bands.

Coil Springs

These are small metal springs attached to or placed over the arch wire. They help in opening space, closing space or maintaining space.

Debanding or Debonding

This is usually everyones favourite part of orthodontic treatment. Demanding is the removal of fixed (bonded) orthodontic appliances such as brackets, tubes and bands. At CCC Smiles we make this as comfortable as possible. Its generally painless and quick!


Elastics are used to help with both tooth and jaw movements. They are small rubber bands that are worn between upper and lower braces, attached by hooks on your brackets. They come in various sizes and strengths and even colours! Typically Dr Katyal will start you on a light force elastic and progress to a stronger one if required. These are easy to place with just a few minutes of practice and do not usually hinder your lifestyle.

Elastic ligatures

These are tiny elastic bands that are use to secure the arch wire to the brackets. They come in many different colours and are changed at every appointment (so you can mix the colours up and get creative!)

Metal ligature Tie

These do the same job as the elastic ligatures, but are made of metal. They are small metal wires used to secure the arch wire to the brackets. They can last for longer periods so if you are travelling or going away for a few months, Dr Katyal can place these rather than elastic ligatures. Bonus! – they never get stained and with metal braces are virtually invisible.

Lingual arch

The lingual area is the surface of your teeth that is nearest or next to your tongue. Some people may choose to have lingual braces, which are braces on the inside surface of your teeth, next to your tongue. Other times we may place an arch wire along the lingual surface to help support teeth or maintain spaces. Don’t worry! Your speech will adjust within a few days.


A specialist for braces and tooth movement with 3 years additional full-time training over a general dentist. An orthodontist can treat simple cases extremely well and are the preferred experts to treat complex cases that may need surgery, extractions, etc. Dr Vandana Katyal is an Orthodontist after having completed her general dentistry degree and specialist degree.

Orthodontic wax

This is a soft wax usually made of silicone that is used to cover any areas of your braces that may be irritating your gums while you adjust to your braces. At CCC Smiles we will show you how to use this especially during the first few days of your braces and for any emergencies that may occur.

Power Chain

This is an elastic rubber chain that sits on all brackets and over the archwire to connect all brackets and teeth together. Once a power chain is fitted it immediately becomes active, as it had to be stretched to be fit on the brackets. It helps to close spaces. They can be coloured or clear so you can get Blue on the top and Pink on the lower – Get Creative!

RME (Rapid Maxillary Expander)

This is an device used to widen upper jaw in growing children. Dr Katyal is an expert at designing customised maxillary expanders using the latest 3D scanning and printing technology, having published several studies in this area. This can help create space in the mouth for teeth, avoid future impactions to erupting canine teeth and help with sleep breathing problems in children. At CCC Smiles, using our 3D scanner, its takes a total of 2 appointments a week apart to get the expander issued and treatment underway! This is so much more after and convenient than the traditional 4 appointments and time frame of 4 – 6 weeks using traditional moulds.


This is a fixed wire or removable plate or a removable clear tray that helps to keep teeth in their final position after your braces have been removed. At CCC Smiles we offer complimentary orthodontist monitoring for your fixed and removable retainers for upto 5 years after your treatment finishes. This guarantees that we will keep the teeth and the smile designed for you as stable as possible!


These are also known as spacers and they are small rubber bands that are used to create a small space between teeth, usually before fitting a band or getting your expander placed.

Space Maintainer

This is a temporary orthodontic appliance that can be used after the loss or extraction of a baby or permanent tooth. It is used to prevent teeth adjacent to the gap from moving in to the resulting space. It often has 1-2 bands placed and a rounded stainless steel arch wire connecting the bands.

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