It’s no surprise that orthodontics has evolved to offer more esthetic options. I mean, if we think about what we offered in the 1980’s, we usually cringe a little. Traditional orthodontics has gotten a bad rap for sure; do you remember headgear? Well, while we still use the same principles of physics to move teeth thru bone (and even headgear!) we have many different and more esthetic options.
For starters, clear braces have improved tremendously since they were first invented and manufactured. While we started with plastic brackets, and quickly realized they stained, we now have many options including full ceramic brackets that look translucent and blend in beautifully.
If you are looking for the most esthetic option we can now over a much improved lingual (behind the teeth) bracket option. While still a little uncomfortable for the tongue, it is an option for some people.
Of course we are all familiar with the Clear Aligners available for treatment. Most of us know them by the brand name Invisalign; there are other aligner brands that orthodontists use such as Spark and Clarity.
This technology has been developed over the last 25 years, and while it looks the same, the product and the software have evolved tremendously. Orthodontists spend a significant amount of time designing these cases with the software and creating the desired result. Some orthodontists even have their own 3D printers and manufacture their own aligners! To make it even more esthetic, patients can use a bleaching pen or gel while wearing their aligners and achieve whitening and straightening at the same time. Win- win!
Perhaps the most innovative part of modern orthodontics is the implementation of the digitally designed case. We already do this with clear aligners (Invisalign and Spark for us) but now we can do the same level of pre programming and detail with brackets. Companies have evolved to 3D printing of brackets – each bracket made specifically for each one of your teeth, allowing a greater level of control and movement precision. LightForce is the brand we are starting to use and we look forward to improving our treatment efficiency and offering a custom bracket to our patients for even better results.
Of course none of this replaces the diagnosis and treatment planning that goes into each orthodontic case we treat. Even the most “simple” cases need planning and individual attention. No two teeth are alike and no two treatments progress the same way. We can help improve outcomes by continuing to develop and test new technologies and look to peer reviewed research for the best appliances to use for each case!
We would be happy to answer any questions about braces, aligners, teeth whitening and anything else related to orthodontics!