The Top Trends in Orthodontic Treatment Today
While there are many different, innovative technologies being developed in the world of orthodontics, all these advances share a common theme. Every orthodontic advancement today is being designed to make patient treatment more efficient, less invasive, and with the least amount of discomfort possible.
For instance, orthodontic treatment involving braces used to take several years to complete in some cases. Now, with the latest technologies, these types of cases can be completed in a much shorter period. In some cases, patients are finishing treatment in under a year!
Given the value people place on esthetics, there is also a high demand for treatment that is inconspicuous and quick. People’s appearance seems to matter more to them than it did decades ago. Dr. Redford and Dr. Burke understand this and provide high quality treatment as efficiently as possible, versus “quick result” treatment that typically fails to deliver an ideal result and/or a result that will last. Prospective orthodontic patients should be wary about treatment plans or timelines that sound too good to be true!
At Burke & Redford Orthodontists, we are dedicated to utilizing the most cutting-edge, yet safest orthodontic technology in our Temecula and Lake Elsinore offices. This allows our patients to have the most efficient and stress-free experience possible.
In order to get a comprehensive look at the oral and facial structure of a patient, 2D x-rays have traditionally been used. However, new x-ray technology has been developed recently that gives us much more information than ever before.
Instead of being constrained by the limited view that traditional 2D images x-rays provide, orthodontists can now use what is called cone beam computed tomography, or CBCT. These imaging machines display the scanned structures in 3D. Dr. Redford and Dr. Burke currently use one of the most advanced cone beam CT scanners on the market today, the Planmeca ProMax® 3D.
Naturally, this gives the orthodontist an exhaustive, intricate and well-defined look at the patient’s teeth and jaw structure. Not only does CBCT scanning allow for the doctor to diagnose and treat the specific issues with increased accuracy, but it gives the patient an easy to understand visual of the orthodontic issues present. Dr. Redford and Dr. Burke are better able to create detailed and personalized treatment plans for patients with this new technology and feel their outcomes are better than in the past.
How Do CBCT Scans Work?
These scans are usually done while the patient is sitting or standing. The machine itself is free standing with a large arm extended outward. It works by the “C-arm” of the machine slowly encircling the patient’s head until an entire 360° is reached. This can take less than a minute and there is no discomfort involved. Because there is no film or sensor that needs to be place in the mouth, having a CBCT scan taken is a much easier experience than the typical dental x-ray taken to check for cavities.
Temporary Anchorage Devices
Temporary anchorage devices (also known as TADs, orthodontic miniscrews, or orthodontic mini implants) are orthodontic appliances used to either inhibit unwanted movement or encourage the desired movement of teeth. Simply put, they are anchor points that allow the orthodontist to move teeth without any negative side effects on other teeth. These appliances have also advanced our ability to move teeth further than previously possible with braces alone.
These devices are usually used in conjunction with braces but can also be used with clear aligners. While TADs are not routinely used in most cases, they can help orthodontists achieve results in moderate to severe cases that were previously impossible or only possible with surgery.
How Do Temporary Anchorage Devices Work?
TADs are used to move teeth in directions that isn’t possible with braces alone, or in cases where moving a tooth in a certain direction would have too great a negative side effect on other adjacent teeth. These devices utilize miniscrews made of titanium to work as anchors and guide the shifting teeth. Although there are different types of TADs out there, they are all relatively small, unobtrusive, and relatively inconspicuous.
Having a TAD placed is straightforward. The orthodontist or oral surgeon will apply a strong topical anesthesia (“numbing gel”) to the specific areas where the TAD(s) will be placed. Then, the tiny miniscrews are inserted into the gums. Little to no discomfort is felt at the time of insertion. The sensation experienced during placement is pressure, not pain. Total time for placement is no more than a few minutes per TAD.
The TADs are attached to either specific teeth or to the braces themselves. Using light and continuous force, the braces and TAD system move teeth smoothly into the desired final position.
Following completion of treatment, the orthodontist will remove the miniscrews, again with topical local anesthesia, in a matter of minutes.
Advanced Braces Appliances
Undoubtedly, some of the best advancements within the realm of orthodontics have involved braces applications. While traditional braces can be blatantly obvious in appearance and require frequent adjustment, new and improved options for braces provide solutions to these issues.
Self-ligating braces, in conjunction with the newest shape memory wires, don’t require elastic ties around each individual brace to keep the wire secure. This makes for more efficient adjustment appointments without the traditional “tightening”.
In addition, because ties are not necessary and the advanced shape memory wires work continuously over extended periods of time, intervals between adjustment appointments can be extended. This means fewer in person adjustment appointments.
- Clear braces:
Clear braces, also called ceramic braces, are either clear or white, depending on the manufacturer. Typically, these braces tend to match the color of the patient’s teeth. This makes them considerably less noticeable than metal braces. White wires can be used with these braces, making them virtually unnoticeable.
More popularly known as Invisalign®, these invisible aligners are a popular option, especially among young people.
Invisalign does not use any type of wire or bracket. Instead, white colored attachments glued to the teeth in conjunction with a see-through removable aligner is used to straighten teeth over time. Besides brushing teeth and eating, these aligners should be in the mouth as much as possible.
It is important to note that attachments are a critical component of moving teeth with aligners! Do-it-yourself systems that do not use attachments cannot move teeth predictably in all three dimensions and results suffer. Invisalign, under the close direction of an orthodontist, is a great option for those wanting to maintain a seamless appearance throughout treatment.
Customizable Braces System
Thanks to the introduction 3D digital imaging and intraoral scanning to orthodontics, the application of customizable braces is possible.
The Planmeca ProMax 3D® helps orthodontists digitally incorporate moving teeth in every direction and allows fabrication of customized brackets and/or wires for patients.
Overall, the 3D models afford the orthodontist an accurate view of the patient’s teeth now and how they will look following treatment. Based on these digital blueprints, adjustments can be made as needed.
Accelerated Orthodontic Treatment
In order to decrease the time needed to complete orthodontic treatment, different techniques have been making waves recently in the orthodontic community. While many of these techniques have proven not to help much, there are ways to reduce the amount of time a patient needs to wear their braces. Ask for more information during your free consultation.
For any questions or concerns regarding any of these orthodontic advancements, please contact Burke & Redford Orthodontists at (951) 699-8011. We are happy to assist you at our offices in Temecula and Lake Elsinore.