Technological Advances in Orthodontics

Each day, we see amazing growth in the technology realm that we benefit from. The orthodontics world is no different, and patients everywhere are reaping the benefits of the amazing leaps in technology in recent years.

From the moment you step into an office for orthodontic treatment, you’ll immediately recognize how technology has impacted the field. Most offices will offer Wi-Fi, iPads and other things to pass the time while waiting for your appointment time.

During your consultation, you’ll notice there are no more standard X-rays. The orthodontic world has embraced digital X-rays and cone beam CT scanners to diagnose and treat patients. They provide much more detailed views for the orthodontist, so diagnoses are more accurate and treatment can be more well-thought out. The key to a properly functioning smile is a custom treatment plan created for each individual patient, and these technologies allow orthodontists to do just that.

And when it comes to creating that perfect smile, there are more options than ever before. While oral surgeons have been using mini screws for a while, temporary anchorage devices are gaining momentum in the orthodontic world. TADs help orthodontists prevent unwanted tooth movement in anchor teeth because they give a secure point to leverage proper tooth movement. TADs are placed directly in the bone between the roots of the anchor teeth, providing the support needed as the proper teeth move to their desired locations. They can be placed anywhere in the mouth, and can even be moved around during the course of treatment, guaranteeing the best smile possible with as little unwanted tooth movement as possible. And the best part? They’re quick and easy to place using only a topical anesthetic and there is little to no pain associated with their placement.

From invisible braces to self-ligating braces, there have never been more options in the world of teeth straightening than there are today. Gone are the days of patients with metal mouths and treatment that seems to go on forever.

As technology has advanced, so has the understanding of the forces it takes to get teeth to move properly. Self-ligating braces use a slide that opens to allow the wire to be placed inside, and when it’s closed, the wire is able to glide inside of it. This reduced the pressure and elicits more effective force. And treatment is more comfortable for the patient.

For patients looking for a lower profile, clear brackets are also available. They are virtually invisible to the naked eye, and are resistant to staining and discoloring.

Another technology that both patients and doctors love is Invisalign. It took the orthodontics world by storm when it was introduced in 1998, and Align Technology continues to make great improvements to benefit orthodontists and their patients. Invisalign consists of a series of clear aligners that elicit a gentle and constant pressure on the teeth to guide them into their proper locations. Patients love them because they are comfortable, low profile and completely removable.

Orthodontists love that Align Technology is committed to constantly improving their product. First, they introduced SmartTrack technology that created more elastic aligners. The result is a tighter fit for more improved control over tooth movement. Teeth and the corresponding tissues respond better when a gentle, yet constant, force is used to guide the teeth, and SmartTrack provides just that.

Additionally, Align Technology recently announced the introduction of Invisalign G5 to help patients who suffer from deep bites. This is a population that previously did not respond to Invisalign treatment, so it opens the door for even more patients to use this wonderful technology. Invisalign G5 is the company’s first technology designed to help patients who suffer from a specific malocclusion. The SmartForce attachments and pressure areas create more predictable tooth movement by allowing the orthodontist more control. Deep bites are severe overbites in which the top teeth cover all of the lower front teeth. It’s harmful because the bottom teeth will be in constant contact with the upper gums and this can not only be painful for the patient, but it can cause the teeth to wear down.

For patients with less severe overbites, there are other options available, as well. Patients who suffer from overbites have had to wear headgear in the past to correct their smiles. But now, teens benefit from the use of Forsus springs, which attach directly to braces. The springs work in the same manner as traditional rubber bands, and reposition the jaw so the upper teeth will no longer extend so far over the lower teeth. Use in adolescent patients, it’s a more convenient treatment that allows for proper jaw growth.

With the amazing advances we’re seeing in the orthodontics world, there is an option available for everyone to get the smile they’ve always dreamed of. And that’s important, not just from an esthetics standpoint, but for overall oral health, as well. Crooked, misaligned and overlapping teeth can be more difficult to clean. This can lead to gum disease and tooth loss if the problem persists. So don’t wait – schedule an orthodontic consultation and learn how technology can perfect your smile and give you a healthier mouth.