Accelerated orthodontics sounds like something all orthodontic patients would agree to. Getting your braces off as fast as possible to reveal an amazing smile, what’s not to love? Find out what accelerated orthodontics is and whether you’re a good candidate.
What is Accelerated Orthodontics?
Accelerated orthodontic treatment can be achieved through a surgical procedure combined with braces or clear aligners such as Invisalign. Soon after braces have been applied, a periodontist performs minor surgery on the gums to ‘activate’ a patient’s gums and bones. Once ‘active’, the teeth can shift into the desired position faster. The relatively new procedure is done under general anaesthetic.
Pros of Accelerated Orthodontics
There are a number of benefits associated with accelerated orthodontic treatment.
Faster Treatment Time
Most patients are keen to reduce the time they wear braces or Invisalign and accelerated orthodontics is one of the few ways a shorter treatment time can be achieved.
Some people decided against orthodontic treatment because of an estimated treatment time of 24-36 months. With the option of accelerated orthodontics shaving months off their treatment time, they may be more inclined to proceed with treatment.
Visible Results Faster
It can take many months of wearing braces before patients notice a visible change to the position of their teeth. For some patients, it’s disheartening when it looks like little is happening with the movement of their teeth. With accelerated orthodontic treatment, tooth movement is faster and, for some patients, gratifying to know they’re making progress.
Better Support for Teeth and Gums
The surgery activates the bone which can increase the underlying support for teeth and gums. By stimulating and softening the bone, teeth can move at a faster rate and new bone is created to provide a stronger foundation for teeth. In some cases, more bone volume in the gum can improve facial aesthetics.
Ready for a Big Event
Patients who have a big event coming up and want to finish treatment in time to show off their new smile can benefit from an accelerated treatment time. Accelerated orthodontics may be the only way to finish treatment in time for a big event, such as a school ball, wedding or overseas trip.
Minor Surgery Instead of Major Surgery
A small number of patients need jaw surgery as part of their treatment plan. Sometimes accelerated orthodontic surgery can take the place of jaw surgery which has a longer recovery time. Accelerated orthodontic treatment can also be used instead of extractions or to reduce the number of teeth that need to be removed before braces are applied.
Cons of Accelerated Orthodontics
While there are a number of benefits associated with accelerated orthodontics, there are also a few drawbacks.
Not Suitable for Everyone
Accelerated orthodontics isn’t suitable for some patients. Those people who smoke or have an existing gum problem may be recommended against accelerated orthodontics due to the risk of infection.
Accelerated orthodontics is a surgical procedure and every surgery comes with some risk. Accelerated orthodontic treatment has been performed around the world for the past 20 years and there have been relatively few cases of recorded complications, but there is always a small chance.
Same Number of Appointments
Unfortunately, a shorter treatment time doesn’t reduce the number of adjustments that need to be made to your braces, so your appointments are spaced closer together. Some patients would prefer their appointments spaced out during a longer treatment so they have more time between adjustments.
Cost of the Surgery
Even with health insurance, every patient will need to pay more for their treatment if they opt for accelerated orthodontics. There are out-of-pocket expenses for the surgery and anaesthesia. Patients need to weigh up if a shorter treatment time is worth the extra expense.
Ask Questions to Make an Informed Decision
If your orthodontist has mentioned accelerated orthodontics for yourself or your child, it’s important to make an informed decision before proceeding. Write down a list of questions that you would like answered at your next appointment, so you don’t forget to ask anything. Once you have all the facts, you can decide whether you want to go with the accelerated orthodontic option.
What You Can Do Instead of Accelerated Orthodontics
Follow our tips for ensuring your braces are only on for as long as they need to be.
Take Care of Your Braces
It only takes one bite of something you shouldn’t be eating with braces to break a wire or cause a bracket to come loose. Once this happens, you need to have it repaired as soon as possible otherwise teeth can begin to move back to their old position.
Maintaining your braces will help to ensure the best possible results throughout your orthodontic treatment. Avoid eating hard foods such as crusty bread, large nuts, ice, popcorn, hard lollies and apples without cutting them up into bite size pieces. Sticky, chewy foods such as lollies, licorice, caramel and rollups should also be avoided.
Make Appointments Quickly in the Case of a Breakage
If you experience a breakage (such as a broken wire or bracket), call straight away to make an appointment for an emergency repair. You need to have it repaired as soon as possible, otherwise teeth can begin to move out of their desired position quickly, undoing some of your hard work.
Wear the Elastics
If your orthodontist has recommended elastics, make sure you wear them as much as possible. Elastics provide extra pulling power to move teeth into their desired place faster than braces alone. When you have finished eating and brushing, re-attach your elastics. By following your orthodontist’s instructions, you’ll finish treatment as soon as possible.
Keep Up Good Dental Hygiene
Nothing will slow down treatment as much as poor dental hygiene. If you aren’t brushing and flossing daily, plaque builds up around brackets. The bacteria can lead to gum disease and once it progresses, orthodontic treatment must stop until gum health improves. If teeth are allowed to continue to move when a patient has gum disease, there can be serious complications for the gums and teeth.
With accelerated orthodontics and good dental care, you can be sure of the fastest possible orthodontic treatment time. For more information about our services, or to speak with one of our specialists, make a call to our nearest clinic or contact us online.