Improvements in technology are continually changing how we do things and orthodontics is no exception. Parents often remark that their child’s orthodontic treatment is quite different to their experience when they were in their teens.
What has Changed in the Past 20 Years?
The main change in the way we treat patients is the reduction in teeth extractions. It was once standard practice to remove teeth before fitting braces, but today we try to avoid extractions wherever possible. Improved braces use a slide mechanism where the wire is placed inside the bracket and closed. There is less friction between the wire and bracket leading to more effective results without the need to remove teeth.
The braces have changed too. In the past, standard size brackets and wires were used for all patients, but now we have a variety of sizes, so patients are fitted with the most appropriate size.
For patients wanting to avoid the traditional metal look of braces, clear brackets are available which are resistant to staining and discolouring compared to the old clear brackets.
Depending on the type of treatment needed, some patients have been able to avoid braces altogether by using Invisalign. The clear plastic trays are changed every two weeks, but the series of trays are made from one impression of the patient’s mouth. CAD-CAM technology designs the trays so that each tooth is moved in small increments.
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How Technology has Changed Orthodontics
Communication between patient and doctor has improved due to technology. Instead of relying on hand drawings and descriptions, patients can now see a 3D model of their teeth and how it will change with treatment. Patients have a better idea of what their treatment will involve and the likely outcome before agreeing to their treatment plan.
The poor quality 2D x-rays of years ago have been replaced by Cone Beam CT scanning. The scans provide the orthodontist with 3D images of the patient’s jaw, teeth and skull. The individual teeth and bones can be viewed from all angles. The patient is also exposed to less radiation than the old x-rays.
Rather than relying solely on molars as anchor points, orthodontists now have the option of using miniscrews. The titanium screws are fixed to the bone as temporary anchor devices so there is no unwanted movement in the molars. The screws can be put in place with topical anaesthesia and are removed at the end of treatment.
Clinics at the Cutting Edge of Technology
While a clinic may not adopt every piece of new technology in its infancy, it is important that a clinic stays on top of advancements. At The Orthodontist we ensure our orthodontists attend seminars and conferences regularly to hear of new developments and techniques in the field. This ensures our patients receive the fastest, most comfortable and effective treatment available.
Most importantly, The Orthodontist gives back to the industry. Due to the number of complex orthodontic cases we take on, we write papers on a regular basis. Orthodontists around the world benefit from our experience and case studies that assist them in their clinics.
If you would like more information about any of the technology we use in our clinics and how it may benefit you, contact us on (08) 9364 5100 to make an appointment.