DR. GEOFF STANTON
TOWNSVILLE ORTHODONTIC SPECIALISTS
Modern technology has significantly improved the delivery of healthcare, including orthodontic treatment. Modern orthodontic appliances (e.g. braces or customised clear plastic aligners) are easier to use, less visible and much more comfortable than ever before.
One of the most significant advances in orthodontic efficiency has been the development of the ‘shape memory’ orthodontic wire. This Nickel-Titanium (NiTi) wire technology was developed by NASA scientists in 1971 and has been routinely used by Orthodontists since the 1980s. This technology has significantly decreased time spent in treatment.
Is Faster Actually Better Treatment?
We are often led to believe that faster treatment is superior treatment, and that having longer treatment is living behind the times. Orthodontics is not exempt from this and Orthodontists certainly prefer faster treatment if it is possible and advisable for the individual patient. For some patients, this is possible and their orthodontic treatment can be completed in under a year. However, for the majority of patients, so-called ‘faster’ treatment generally results in greater risks and accepting compromises. This is certainly not desirable. ‘Faster’ treatment is definitely not faster if it has to be done all over again!
Similar to a baking a cake, rushing to finish your orthodontic treatment will produce a result that on the surface may appear satisfactory, however, other parts will be remain ‘under-cooked’ (e.g. incomplete bite correction). A well-fitting bite is very important for stability and to prevent future problems such as wearing down your teeth.
It can be very difficult to distinguish whether patients belong in the fast or standard treatment time category as some problems can be fixed rapidly and others take time to fix properly. A specialist Orthodontist has the knowledge, training and expertise to make the correct decision and is the most qualified person to ensure that your treatment is done right the first time!
Separating Fact from Fiction
Accelerating orthodontic tooth movement with vibration was first patented in the 1970s and has been ‘rediscovered’ recently. Recent good quality research has shown that this technique provides no benefit to orthodontic patients.
Several dental companies heavily promote their own brand of ‘short-term’ orthodontic treatment e.g. FastBracesTM, CfastTM QuickStraightTeethTM, SmileFast Magic BracesTM. Not surprisingly, most companies claim that their product is the best, most advanced and ‘revolutionary’. However, teeth only respond to the biological forces placed upon them and have no respect for brand names! It is the quality and experience of the practitioner controlling the orthodontic appliance that ultimately determines its performance.
If you are considering orthodontic treatment, please make sure you ask all of the right questions. A specialist Orthodontist has the knowledge, experience and expertise to determine what type of treatment is best for you or your child. An Orthodontist will always aim to provide the best result in the minimum possible time with the safest and most predictable techniques.
Disclaimer: Information and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors.