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Glossary in London

Glossary Align Glossary

A short glossary containing some common types of braces

Take a look at our glossary to help find out more about brace terminology.

Invisible Braces

Everyone wants a perfect smile but no one wants the awkwardness or inconvenience of having metal braces fitted since they’re usually not flexible or practical solutions. With Hollywood smiles and glamorous pearly whites everywhere you turn – on the TV, in magazines, splashed over billboards, it’s only natural to want to emulate them yourself.

Invisible braces can give you the confidence and satisfaction in your looks that you’ve always dreamed of without having to resort to the old ‘train track’ metal braces. Whether you have misaligned teeth, crowding, an overbite, underbite or crossbite problem, with invisible braces you can achieve perfectly aligned your teeth at any age.


Did you know that when you choose to get veneers fitted, your natural teeth are cut down by up to 30%? That is almost half of your natural tooth enamel being removed. Of course, it is replaced with a porcelain veneer yet sometimes there can be complications and veneers, since they are cosmetic and not your natural teeth, can easily break off and need replacing.

Why destroy your natural teeth and replace them with artificial ones when you can achieve a beautiful smile naturally? Invisalign invisible braces are a more trustworthy permanent solution than veneers. Once your teeth are aligned perfectly, your brace is removed and you needn’t ever worry when you smile or laugh again.

Metal Braces

Not only do Invisalign invisible braces look better than traditional metal braces with hardly any detection that you’re wearing them at all, they usually take less time to straighten and align teeth. That’s because metal braces usually require teeth to be extracted and then gums need to heal before the actual fitting of the brace.

Because Invisalign invisible braces were developed specifically to preserve and maintain the natural state of the teeth, while perfecting them, there are never any extractions meaning it’s a quicker, smoother process. Invisalign invisible braces are often a lot more comfortable too since they use clear plastic trays which have been customised to fit your individual teeth to accomplish the desired straightening as opposed to metal wires which can often feel tight and restrictive.

Lingual Braces

Lingual braces are often called ‘hidden braces’ and differ greatly to conventional metal braces. Unlike metal braces, which are fitted on the front of the teeth, extremely visible and often considered to make patients feel awkward and ugly, lingual braces sit on the inside of the mouth behind the teeth, usually undetectable from the naked eye. 70% of us didn’t even know lingual braces existed and in most cases, the time to align and perfect teeth is quicker than with conventional metal braces.

However, although the benefits sound appealing – remember that lingual braces are still, in the majority of cases, made of some kind of metal. So even though other people may not be able to see them, you’ll still know they’re there. The only way to achieve a naturally aligned, perfect smile with true invisibility is to wear Invisalign invisible braces and achieve the teeth you’ve always wanted with the solution that’s clear!


Since it usually takes almost a year for the periodontal ligaments to solidify into their new positions after your braces are removed, a retainer is usually worn to secure your teeth into the correct alignment. If you stop wearing the retainer, your teeth could still shift back and become crooked or gaps could start to appear.

Most retainers are advised by orthodontists to be worn 24/7 for a few months and then to transition into wearing it only at night. You might speak strangely when you first start to use the retainer, which is another drawback. With Invisalign invisible braces, there is no ‘two-stop process’ – it’s just one, simple, smooth transition from the teeth you’ve always hidden away to a new, beaming confident smile.

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