Defining Common Orthodontic Terms That Get Lost in Translation (G – L Edition)

May 23, 2017
Jason K. Bunch, DDS, MS

Defining Common Orthodontic Terms That Get Lost in Translation (G - L Edition)

Continuing our blog series on the jargon you’ll likely hear when visiting any of our seven Gorman & Bunch Orthodontics offices, below you’ll even more terms that often get lost in translation.

Be sure to to check out the A-F edition for everything from “Appliance” to “Fixed Retainer,” and continue reading for our G-L edition.

Did you miss out on terms A-F?

– G –


Also heard in dental offices, gingivitis occurs when the fibrous gingiva tissue at the base of your teeth gets irritated, causing redness and inflammation. It’s a mild form of periodontal (gum) disease, but can lead to more serious oral concerns if not addressed.

– H –

Hard Cast Retainer

After moving all teeth into proper position, we may ask you to wear a hard cast retainer full time for 10 weeks. This clear retainer fits snugly over your teeth and holds them securely into position while the adjoining bone matures. This critical step can help achieve a stable result that will last. We always advise our patients to wear a retainer that fits even years after treatment, so it’s vital to let us know immediately if your hard cast retainer ever breaks, gets lost, or fits poorly.


Everyone’s favorite orthodontic appliance, the headgear includes an external wire known as a facebow that gently guides the growth of your face and jaw by moving your teeth into the correct position. The device applies force to the facebow by a spring-loaded neck strap or head straps, which have a safety release that disconnects if the facebow is pulled or snagged.

Herbst Appliance

This appliance is used to correct skeletal imbalances where the lower jaw is behind the upper jaw. A combined restriction of upper jaw growth with an enhancement of lower jaw growth aids in the correction process. The Herbst appliance is generally worn between 12-15 months.


A hook is a welded or removable arm on your braces bracket where we attach the elastics.

– I –

Impacted Tooth

The term “impacted tooth” encompasses any tooth that has not yet emerged, does not have adequate space to grow, or is poorly positioned in your mouth and needs help coming in.


This is the first step in making a model of your teeth for creating personalized orthodontic appliances. They are made by seating into a container filled with a rubber-like material over your teeth. That material then hardens to produce a mold of your teeth, which we examine to create the proper orthodontic treatment plan for you. Not many people’s favorite process, but fortunately with our 3D digital scanners we have eliminated most traditional impressions from our offices!


Invisalign is a technology created using computer scanners and virtual reality to move teeth gradually using clear, customizable and removable appliances called aligners. Read more about our Invisalign treatment here.


Positioned at the front of our mouths, the four incisors are used to cut through food.

– L –

Ligature Tie

Typically made out of elastic, the ligature is the elastic tie we use to attach the bracket to the archwire. (Look here for a refresher on what “bracket” and “archwire” mean.)

Lower Bonded Retainer

After treatment with Invisalign or braces, we oftentimes place a lower bonded retainer behind the bottom front teeth, glued to the lower canine teeth. This “permanent” retainer keeps your lower teeth straight over the long term, without the potential for loss or damage with a removable retainer. Proper brushing and flossing are extremely important to keep this type of retainer clean and keep your teeth and gums healthy.

Are there other terms you’ve heard around our office that you’d like to know more about? Let us know in the comments below, and stay tuned for the M-Z edition coming soon!


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  • Heather and Dr Carly were awesome! Friendly, informative, and professional. Office was very inviting. We had a great appointment and look forward to the next couple of years of working with them.

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    Andy Tebbe

    This is the best place to go! Dr. Carly and her staff have made my daughter's smile beautiful.

    Ruth Perkins Avatar
    Ruth Perkins

    This 64 year old had teeth that had begun to overlap in my adult years, which was attributed to having 4 good teeth removed as a child for "Crowded teeth". I waited to fund Invisalign until incurring no penalty for taking IRA funds, other than taxes. I was fortunate to be referred to Dr. Jason Bunch by my dentist, Dr. Jack Nicewander. Dr. Bunch and his Carmel, IN office staff see numerous children and young adults, but welcome the young at heart as well. I trust them and find them accommodating, efficient, professional and compassionate.

    Joyce Eggleston Avatar
    Joyce Eggleston

    Personal and professional, everyone always takes great care of my sensitive mouth teen!

    This is our first experience with needing orthodontia, when it’s time for my youngest to get braces, we’ll choose this place again in a heartbeat.

    From the team up front to the team in the back, everyone is so nice and yet so efficiently on task, it is quite impressive.

    They have reasonable pricing and are willing to help with a payment plan.

    Keep up the great work!!

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    Robert Cassidy
  • I can’t say enough great things about this office. I am legal guardian of my sister and she is going through Invisalign with them… She’s almost done and I am amazed by the results.
    I also go there for continued orthodontic care because orthodontic retention is for life! So glad I have such great people to care for our teeth!!!

    Veronica Boyle Avatar
    Veronica Boyle

    I just started my first week with the Invisalign. The staff has been extremely friendly and helpful through every step.

    Dr Carly’s initial evaluation of my case was extremely thorough and the options were explained in detail to help make an informed decision.

    They’ve certainly exceeded my expectation and from the looks of it, they do a great job with their younger patients as well!

    Patrick May Avatar
    Patrick May

    Cannot say enough good things about this practice! I've been to Westfield and Carmel locations, both are beautiful with helpful and friendly staff. Dr Bunch is experienced, knowledgeable, and truly cares about his patients and strives to get the best results possible for each one!

    Karen Caudle Avatar
    Karen Caudle

    Amazing office! My daughter was home from college and had an orthodontic emergency. She was not a previous patient. Dr Moran was kind enough to see her. The entire staff was amazing. I would never go anywhere else!

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    Sharon Hoover
  • I received Invisalign treatment and had a lot going on. As a mom of two children ,under two years old, it’s tough making doctor appointments but let me tell you they make it work! I was with Dr. Carly at the Westfield office and she always encouraged my little sons to come during my appointments. This made things so much easier for me. The staff at Gorman and Bunch were always welcoming and inviting. They would remember you and are honestly genuine people. Let me tell you it is hard finding good medical practices these days but these people are the best. I forever will recommend Gorman and Bunch to young kiddos and adults.

    Casey Hood Avatar
    Casey Hood

    I love this office. The staff and Dr. Carly are great. I’m having amazing results with my program! I highly suggest it to any and everyone!

    Mark Roberts Avatar
    Mark Roberts

    Excellent every time we’ve brought our kids. Thorough evaluations, knowledgeable doctors/staff, great with kids, and great results

    Stephanie Avatar

    We were very pleased with the staff and services at Gorman & Bunch. From the beginning, they were very friendly and made us feel comfortable with our first ortho visit. Dr. Carly was very nice and attentive. We ended up with braces for my son on the first visit and they were quick and thorough and made our experience very positive. Definitely would recommend them! They are awesome!

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    Donia Shackelford
  • Amazing experience all around. The staff is super friendly and Dr. Carly always makes my daughter feel comfortable with the work being done. We are thrilled with the progress we are seeing, and the customer service is always top notch.

    Alyssa Lozier Avatar
    Alyssa Lozier

    Amazing experience all around. The staff is super friendly and Dr. Carly always makes my daughter feel comfortable with the work being done. We are thrilled with the progress we are seeing, and the customer service is always top notch.

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    Ryder man 645 Lozier

    Very great place! Went there for my first time today and i felt so comfortable and they are helping me fix my mouth!! Love love love!

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    Haley Elston

    Fantastic staff who put the person (and their teeth!) at the center of the experience. Child-friendly waiting areas. I've had nothing but good experiences over my nearly 10 years with Gorman and Bunch. Cannot recommend highly enough!

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    Pete Freeman
  • Amazing experience they all made my daughter and I feel very comfortable, all the ladies were extremely nice. Very well informed. Wouldn't go anywhere else!

    Erica Wood Avatar
    Erica Wood

    Love this office! Helpful, professional, and knowledgeable doctor and staff. Haven’t had 1 issue with them. They’ve got their routine down pat.

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    Courtney Amos