Orthodontic Technologies and Techniques
During the last decade, the specialty of orthodontics has undergone a technological revolution. New materials and techniques are constanlty being developed that can make braces less noticeable, improve patient comfort and, in some cases, reduce treatment time and help control costs.
Here are a few technological advancements currently available in practice at BIDC:
- Direct Bracket Bonding
- Titanium Archwire
- Self-ligating Braces or Speed Braces
- Clear Brackets & Lingual Braces
- Removable Clear Aligners
- Colorful Bands and Retainers
In the past, individual bands, usually of stainless steel, were wrapped around and cemented to each individual tooth. The band served to secure orthodontic brackets attachments. While effective, it created the “tin grin” look that some patients found unappealing. Today, the practice of direct bonding brackets directly on patients’ teeth is possible and are much less noticeable. Brackets are also smaller and more effective.
At BIDC, brackets from 3M Unitek with APC™ PLUS Adhesive Coated Appliance System are available. Each individual bracket is clearly identified and pre-oriented on a special foam liner that virtually eliminates bracket rotation in transit. There is no wasted time mixing cementation thus faster treatment timings. The brackets comes in a single use, easy-to-place brackets, pre-coated with quality 3M adhesive that tolerates moisture, arrive individually packaged with a tamper-evident lid ensuring the the brackets are clean, new and sterilized brackets.
Another innovation in orthodontics is what is sometimes referred to as “Space Age” wires. These new wires, which have been developed through the NASA space program, are made from resilient metals which are more flexible and retain a pre-formed shape.
These wires are easier for orthodontists to apply and require fewer wire replacements, which can reduce the number of visits to the orthodontist for adjustments. The end-result often is less discomfort and shorter treatment time for the patient.
Among a variety of materials, BIDC also uses the Unitek Nitinol Archwire system. These archwire systems provides the linear elasticity and bendability of high strength steel. The Unitek Nitinol Heat Activated archwire thermally activates super-elastic archwire. To date, only nickel titanium can deliver the elastic working range making it easy for the Nitinol wires to engage and delivers the light continuous forces that effectively move teeth.
generates light continuous forces for increased patients comfort whilst delivering
more efficient tooth movement
Passive self-ligating braces such as the Damon system eliminate the need for elastic or metal "ties". With self-ligating braces, orthodontic treatment requires less tightening. The light high-technology shape-memory wires within the self-ligating brace system move teeth faster and require fewer adjustments. Self-ligating braces are sometimes known as speed braces.
The self-ligating braces has brackets that use a slide mechanism to hold the wire, which allows teeth to move more freely, quickly and comfortably. There are no o-rings involved unlike traditional braces that are tied in with elastics, which cause friction and pressure, making treatment slower and less comfortable. See more on Self-Ligating Braces under Damon Braces and Clarity SL Braces.
Brackets are can now be less visible with clear brackets or tooth-colored brackts such as clear braces with Clarity Braces and Clarity SL Braces. These aesthetically appealing braces are available in translucent white, to blend with the teeth, or in a clear, transparent material that allows the natural color of teeth to show through. Because the brackets are not as noticeable, these braces can boost the patient’s self-esteem and help eliminate the self-consciousness that may be associated with wearing metal braces.
For those patients who want complete “obscurity,” lingual braces may be an option. Lingual braces are applied to the inside surfaces of the teeth. Many people (especially professionals such as lawyers, doctors and sales representatives) opt for these “hidden” braces. It’s important to discuss this option with an orthodontist as ingual braces are not applicable to all orthodontic problems.
Orthodontic treatmentcan now be made more comfortable with removable clear aligners such as invisalign orthodontic treatment. These clear braces are non-visible and because they are removable makes oral hygiene and teeth cleaning easier. Patients are able to eat any foods comfortable during their orthodontic treatments.
Elastics, the small rubber orthodontic bands used with braces, now come in colors from neons to pastels. Braces-wearers can change their elastics to coordinate with their outfits, or they can be festive for holidays.
Retainers, usually worn after the braces are removed, can also be personalized and made in colors other than the traditional roof-of-the-mouth pink.