Glossary of Dental Terms

  • Hawley Retainer

  • Aligner Seating

  • Aligner Back Tracking

  • Aligner Seating Tool

  • Hawley Retainer

    Hawley retainer is the most common type of retainer meant to be used after orthodontic treatment (such as braces or clear aligners). It is removable, and made up of a combination of plastic and metal that molded to fit your mouth. Hawley retainers are meant to “retain” your teeth’s position by stabilizing them while the bone hardens around them.

  • Aligner Seating

    Proper aligner seating increases the likelihood that the pre-programmed force systems (basically what is built into your aligners and designed to move your teeth) are delivered as accurately and efficiently as possible. Seating aligners properly helps orthodontic treatment progress more predictably.

  • Aligner Back Tracking

    Aligner backtracking is when a patient must wear the previous aligners longer than originally planned. Often, when the teeth have gone off track, they need some additional time in a previous aligner/step to move fully into position. Backtracking gives the teeth the time that they need to get back on track with intended treatment.

  • Aligner Seating Tool

    When used properly, an aligner seatering tool will help to close any air gaps between your teeth and your aligners, improving the fit of the aligners, and, like the name implies, ensure proper seating (see aligner seating).