What’s New in the Evolution of Orthodontic Treatments?
The field of orthodontics is evolving rapidly. New treatment methods are being invented and optimized that more people are seeking orthodontic treatments than ever.
Because of those advancements, orthodontic treatment isn’t a traumatic ordeal anymore. With dentists striving to continue providing fast, efficient, and effective treatment to their patients, we can only expect these technologies to become even more developed.
Orthodontics is the branch of dentistry that focuses on the correction of jaws and their alignment. This dental speciality is concerned with the diagnosis, prevention, interception, guidance and correction of bad bites.
The most commonly known treatments are braces, but recently the field has been evolving to include various other advanced treatment options.
Many people are born with crowded or crooked teeth, or their jaws don’t meet correctly when they bite. Those problems can have a cosmetic problem or can cause teeth and gums damage - because it becomes harder to maintain proper oral hygiene.
Even in some cases, the abnormal positioning of the teeth and jaw can affect the shape and appearance of their face.
Nowadays, patients of different age groups visit orthodontists for treatment of:
- Correction of dental crowding
- Straightening and aligning their teeth
- Correction of their bite (so that the upper and lower jaws meet evenly)
- Minimizing the chance of damage to prominent teeth
- Improving the overall appearance of the teeth and face; including their smile
As we mentioned previously, the benefits of orthodontic treatment include a healthier mouth, more pleasing appearance, and aligned teeth that are more likely to last a lifetime.
A few years ago, orthodontic treatments were mainly provided to children after his adult teeth are out. This usually happens when they become 12 years old, but depends on how many of their adult teeth have come through and the growth of their face and jaws.
However, more adults are undergoing orthodontic treatments now. Adults’ treatments can begin at any age, but the treatment options are more limited.
Your dentist or orthodontist will determine whether such treatments are suitable for you. Based on diagnostic tools that include:
- Full medical and dental health history,
- Clinical exam,
- Plaster models of your teeth,
- Special X-rays and photographs.
If those tools prove that orthodontic treatment is an option for you, your dentist will tailor a treatment plan that is suitable for your specific case.
The Technological Advances in Orthodontics
The field of orthodontics has come a long way since the days of simply wrapping wires around the teeth to hold them into a new position.
There are a lot of treatment options these days, from retainers to clear aligners to invisible, metal, ceramic and micro braces. They each have their uses. Nowadays, orthodontic treatment is more effective and comfortable to go through.
Here are 4 technologies that are revolutionizing this field.
- Invisalign Aligners
The use of Invisalign or clear aligners has transformed the face of orthodontics and braces.
This technique offers an alternative to fixed appliances and metal braces. It is suitable for teenagers and adults and solves the aesthetic and cosmetic problems caused by metal braces.
Invisalign braces were designed to maintain comfort and offer extra flexibility. The patients can remove the braces for short periods to eat, and clean or floss their teeth. And with Invisalign, there are no barriers to getting a proper clean.
It is advised that the person should wear their Invisalign for 20 to 22 hours a day. The longer the duration that you don’t wear the braces, the longer the aligning process.
- Temporary Anchorage Devices (TADs)
Temporary anchorage devices (TADs) are mini-screws or mini-implants made of titanium alloy. TADs are used to help align more stubborn teeth that cannot be shifted by braces alone.
They are temporary - which means that they are added in a specific time in the orthodontic treatment then removed.
Usually, teeth are used as orthodontic anchors, but this can have drawbacks in some cases. Due to the lack of viable tooth located at the point where an anchor is needed or the teeth used as anchors can start to move - when a greater force is being applied on them.
These temporary mini-implants help replace the use of teeth as anchors or stabilize a tooth that's being used as such.
- Nickel and Copper-Titanium Wires
Orthodontists now use nickel (NiTi) or copper-titanium (CuTi) wires instead of stainless steel wires. This is because of the significant improvement that those wires offer.
NiTi and CuTi have the capability to respond to heat. Which means that they will bend and tighten more naturally as the teeth shift. Hence, reducing the need for visiting the orthodontist for more tightening appointments.
- Six Month Smiles
Six Month Smile is an orthodontic method that primarily focuses on solving the cosmetic problems caused by misaligned or crooked teeth.
It is a clear brace that’s designed to straighten your front teeth in around six months. The most common dental issues that can be treated with Six Month Smile are crooked front teeth, extrusions, rotations and intrusions.
It also works for diastemas and spacing issues as well as overbites, open bites and crowded and overlapping teeth. However, Six Month Smiles are not meant to correct bites and severe misalignment issues.