Take a look back through history and you’ll see that even in ancient times, people desired beautiful, straight smiles. Archeologists have uncovered evidence of crude, early braces. While the goal of even this early orthodontic treatment hasn’t changed over time, the methods we use to get there have changed.
The first significant change is perhaps the sheer number of options available in the braces world. From standard metal braces, to lingual braces that fit on the tongue side of teeth, to Invisalign clear aligners, there is an option for every lifestyle and budget.
If you’ve waited until later in life to straighten your smile with orthodontics, Invisalign is a great option for you. It allows you to get the smile you’ve always wanted discretely, and with minimal impact on your day to day life.
Once available only to a small population of orthodontic patients, recent improvements in Invisalign technology have opened the doors for its use with even more patients. And patients love it because it’s comfortable, while providing beautiful results.
For those who play contact sports or wind instruments, lingual braces are a great option. They fit along the tongue side of teeth, resulting in minimal trauma should the patient suffer a blow to the face, and increased comfort while playing a wind instrument.
Self-ligating braces offer a more comfortable option than metal braces because they don’t have the brackets and archwires. Instead, they use a free-sliding technology that also results in faster treatment times. So not only can orthodontic treatment be more comfortable, it can be shorter, too.
Research has shown that teeth respond very well to constant, yet gentle force, as elicited by self-ligating braces and Invisalign. Even standard metal braces benefit from this research as more orthodontists are now using wires made from a nickel-titanium alloy that has proven to be ore gentle and last longer than previous wires.
When undergoing a consultation with your orthodontist, ask about what options are available to you that will result in increased comfort. There are many options that don’t require the tightening and use of rubber bands that were one thought to be a staple in orthodontics care. Today, multiple options are available that will allow you to have the straighter smile you want, but without the pain.
Customized treatment plans means your treatment will be crafted to meet your specific needs. There is no longer a one size fits all approach to orthodontic care, so you can be certain that your teeth will be in their ideal locations once your treatment is complete. And with enhanced computer technology, your orthodontist can create more precise tooth movements. That can often result in fewer trips to the orthodontist and less time spent in appliances overall.
X-rays have also revolutionized the way orthodontists practice. CT scanners and 3D x-rays allow orthodontists to make more precise diagnoses, allowing them to craft the perfect treatment plan for whatever orthodontic issues you might be facing.
3-D imaging allows your orthodontist to see how your smile looks today, and how it can look at the end of treatment. Throughout your treatment time, he can work to tweak your tooth movements to precisely what they should be to offer the most functional bite and smile at the end of your treatment.
It seems that almost every day, we’re seeing a new technological advance in the orthodontics world that results in more efficient treatment for our patients. So where do we go from here? Orthodontists expect to see even more great advancements to help patients achieve beautiful and functional smiles.